Rotterdam shooting results in three deaths at home and university hospital campus

Rotterdam shooting results in three deaths at home and university hospital campus

Saturday 30/09/2023
Heavily armed Dutch special police entered the Erasmus Medical Center to confront the gunman.(Bas Czerwinski: AFP )

Three people have died after a 32-year-old gunman opened fire at a house and at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands.

The gunman — who wore a bulletproof vest and was dressed in combat gear — first killed a 39-year-old woman and left her 14-year-old daughter in a critical condition at their home.

The girl later died of her injuries.

Although the motive of the attack remains unclear, the district attorney said during a press conference that the gunman lived in one of the houses at the Heiman Dullaertplein, which is where the first incident took place.

After the house attack, the gunman then started a fire in one of the homes and went to the Erasmus Medical Center, where he was a student, and shot dead a 43-year-old man who worked as a teacher and a GP, before setting a fire in the building.

The incident sparked panic as staff and students fled the scene.

Dutch special police then stormed the hospital before they arrested the man underneath the centre's helipad.

Rotterdam's chief prosecutor said the man was known to law enforcement authorities and had been prosecuted and convicted in 2021 for animal abuse.

Local public broadcaster Rijnmond said that the 39-year-old woman had reported the suspected gunman multiple times over animal abuse in recent years, according to a neighbour.

"He owned a dog and some rabbits, which he would have abused. The neighbour reported this several times and made multiple reports with the housing association. But I don't know if that was the reason for his actions today," he said.

'Shocked by a horrible incident'

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said the shooting had left the city shaken.

"We have been shocked by a horrible incident," he said.

"Shots were fired in two different places in the city. Many people witnessed it.

"Emotions in the city are very high. My condolences go out to the victims."

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on X that there has been great dismay after the dramatic events in Rotterdam.

"My thoughts go out to the victims of the violence, their loved ones and to all the people who have been in great fear. Many thanks to the people at the services for their actions and assistance on site."

Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima expressed their sympathy on social media.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victims of the violence this afternoon in Rotterdam," the royal pair wrote.

"We also think of everybody who lived in fear during these terrible actions."

The Erasmus Medical Center appealed on social media for people not to go to the hospital, but later said it was reopening.

Warning letter from the Public Prosecution Service

According to Dutch public broadcaster NOS, the Public Prosecution Service warned the Erasmus MC about the alleged gunman in an email earlier this year.

The email discussed his conviction for animal abuse and his "worrying behaviour".

He was said to have been "half naked in the garden on a stack of leaves", screaming and laughing loudly and exhibiting "psychotic behaviour".

During a search of his phone, images of people being stabbed to death as well as Nazi and right-wing extremist images were found. He was also said to be addicted to alcohol and suffer from depression.

"I assume that this contributes to your decision whether the person concerned is eligible for the basic medical diploma," the email, which was sent between January and May of this year, concluded.

By ABC/Wires

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