A shocking and tragic incident unfolded in Rotterdam, the Dutch port city, as a 32-year-old medical student went on a shooting rampage. The suspect, who was wearing combat gear and a bulletproof vest, targeted an apartment building and a downtown hospital, resulting in the deaths of three people. This incident stands out as one of the deadliest shooting incidents in the country, where such acts of violence are rare.
The shooting spree began at an apartment building near the suspect’s residence. In a horrifying turn of events, the medical student shot a 39-year-old woman and her 14-year-old daughter. Despite efforts to save them, the woman died at the scene, while the girl succumbed to her injuries after being rushed to a hospital.
After the apartment shooting, the lone gunman proceeded to the Erasmus Medical Center, where he killed a 43-year-old professor in a classroom. To add to the horror, the suspect set fires at both crime scenes, causing panic and chaos. However, the police were able to capture him under the hospital’s helipad.
Authorities have not yet identified the suspect or provided any insight into his motive. Rotterdam Police Chief Fred Westerbeke stated, “We see his act as a targeted action, but it requires further research to gain clarity about how and why.” Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed his dismay over the tragic events in a statement, and Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb described it as a “black day.”
The shooting sparked scenes of chaos throughout the city, with people fleeing the hospital and patients being wheeled out on beds. Some individuals barricaded themselves in rooms at the hospital, seeking safety from the unfolding violence. Disturbing footage captured on social media captured the sounds of screams and panic as people reacted to the loud bangs of gunshots. Another video showed the suspect being detained by police, with his hands cuffed behind his back and a blindfold placed over his eyes.
The Dutch royal couple, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima, expressed their sympathy for the families and friends of the shooting victims. They stated, “We also think of everybody who lived in fear during these terrible actions.”
Unfortunately, this incident is not the first of its kind in the Netherlands. In recent years, the country has seen similar acts of gun violence. In 2022, a shooting at a Dutch day care center for disabled children claimed the lives of two individuals and injured two others. Additionally, in 2011, a gunman killed five people and wounded 17 before taking his own life at a mall south of Amsterdam.
The Rotterdam shooting spree is a grim reminder of the need for renewed efforts to address and prevent such acts of violence. The investigation into this incident will be crucial in understanding the motives behind the attacks and what measures can be taken to prevent similar tragedies in the future.