Suspect arrested after three killed on tram in Dutch town

Suspect arrested after three killed on tram in Dutch town

News Staff

The man suspected of killing three people on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday was arrested hours after the shooting, officials said.

Dutch officials had raised the threat alert to its highest level around Utrecht before the suspect was detained.

On Monday afternoon, police released a photo of the man they believe is connected to the shooting, and told the public not to approach him. They identified him as Gökmen Tanis, 37, who was born in Turkey.

Five people were also injured in the attack, according to police. Mayor Jan van Zanen had previously said that nine people had been hurt, but police later adjusted that number.

“We expect a terror motive. Our thoughts are with the next of kin and the witnesses of this horrific event,” the mayor said.

The police asks you to look out for the 37 year old Gökman Tanis (born in Turkey) associated with the incident this morning at the #24oktoberplein in #Utrecht. Do not approach him but call 0800-6070.

— Politie Utrecht (@PolitieUtrecht) March 18, 2019

Police said earlier they were looking for a least one person who might have fled the scene by car, and didn’t exclude the possibility that more people might have been involved. They appealed to the public for any photos taken in the area at the time of the incident.

In the wake of the shooting, paramilitary police boosted security at airports and other vital infrastructure. Security was also stepped up at mosques and all trams were stopped. Local schools shut their doors and people were at first advised to stay indoors, but they were later told they could go outside.

The “threat level has gone to 5, exclusively for the Utrecht province,” anti-terror coordinator Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said, referring to the highest level.

Just before the shooting, a red Renault Clio was carjacked less than a mile from the scene of the attack and later found elsewhere in the city, police said.

Three trauma helicopters were initially dispatched to the scene just after the shooting, which took place around 10:45 a.m. local time.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was deeply concerned about the incident and convened crisis talks. Minister of Justice Ferdinand Grapperhaus advised the public to stay calm but alert.

King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands said in a statement that “violence like this is unacceptable.”

“It hurts us very much that three people have died today and others got hurt,” the king and queen said. “Let’s stand together for a society where people feel safe, and freedom and tolerance are leading. Our thoughts are with the people of Utrecht.”

Utrecht is home to a large student population and is about 25 miles south of Amsterdam. Gun killings are rare in the Netherlands.

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