Monday 14 October 2019

Police identify suspect after three killed in Utrecht tram shooting

The public have been advised not to approach Gokman Tanis, 37.

Gokman Tanis, 37, who is wanted in connection with a shooting in Utrecht (Utrecht Police/PA)
Gokman Tanis, 37, who is wanted in connection with a shooting in Utrecht (Utrecht Police/PA)

By Associated Press reporter

Police have named the suspect in a shooting attack on a tram in the central Dutch city of Utrecht which has left three people dead and five others injured.

Officers identified Turkish-born Gokman Tanis, 37, in connection with the incident. The public have been urged not to approach him.

Utrecht mayor Jan van Zanen confirmed the number of people killed and injured in the incident, saying the authorities were likely to “assume a terror motive”.

Authorities immediately raised the terror alert for the area to the maximum level while Dutch military police went on extra alert at airports and at key buildings in the country as the Utrecht manhunt took place.

Police, including heavily-armed officers, flooded the area after the shooting on Monday morning on a tram at a busy traffic intersection in a residential area.

Officers said a Red Renault Clio had been hijacked shortly before the shooting, and was later found further south in the city. They asked for anyone with information about the car to get in touch.

(PA Graphics)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “Our nation was hit by an attack in Utrecht. It is clear there were shots on tram passengers in Utrecht, that there are wounded.” He said that “a terror motive is not excluded”.

Mr Rutte said that throughout the nation “there is a mix of disbelief and disgust”.

He added: “If it is a terror attack then we have only one answer: our nation, democracy must be stronger that fanaticism and violence.”

Police spokesman Bernhard Jens said no-one had been detained yet in the shooting and one possible “explanation is that the person fled by car”. He did not rule out the possibility that more than one person was involved in the attack.

Rescue workers at the scene of the shooting (Peter Dejong/AP/PA)

“We want to try to catch the person responsible as soon as possible,” Mr Jens said.

The country’s anti-terror co-ordinator raised the threat alert to its highest level around Utrecht. Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said the “threat level has gone to 5, exclusively for the Utrecht province”.

Police in Germany say they have upped surveillance on the country’s border and are on the lookout for the gunman.

Heinrich Onstein, a spokesman for the federal police in the border state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said additional police had been added to watch not only major roads, but also minor crossings as well as railway routes.

PA Media

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