Twin Rotterdam shootings death toll soars to three

A gunman dressed in combat gear and wearing a bulletproof vest went on a shooting rampage at a house and a hospital in Rotterdam Thursday, killing a 14-year-old girl, her mother and a teacher. After setting the womans house on fire, the gunman went to the Rotterdam Medical Centre university hospital, where he entered a classroom and fatally shot a 46-year-old teacher. The man was arrested near the hospital, where he also set a fire. AFP
A gunman dressed in combat gear and wearing a bulletproof vest went on a shooting rampage at a house and a hospital in Rotterdam Thursday, killing a 14-year-old girl, her mother and a teacher. After setting the woman’s house on fire, the gunman went to the Rotterdam Medical Centre university hospital, where he entered a classroom and fatally shot a 46-year-old teacher. The man was arrested near the hospital, where he also set a fire. AFP

A 32-year-old gunman, clad in combat attire and donning a bulletproof vest, embarked on a deadly shooting spree that left three individuals dead in Rotterdam. 

The distressing attacks targeted a family residence and a classroom within the Erasmus MC university hospital.

Authorities in the Netherlands are actively probing the motives behind these harrowing attacks. The assailant first breached a residence in the Dutch port city, opening fire and killing a 39-year-old woman while critically injuring her 14-year-old daughter, who tragically succumbed to her injuries.

Following the house assault, the gunman proceeded to the Erasmus MC university hospital, where he entered a classroom and fatally shot a 46-year-old teacher before igniting another fire within the facility, sparking panic and chaos. Elite police units swiftly stormed the hospital to restore order.

Eyewitnesses described scenes of terror and pandemonium, with patients, medical staff, and doctors evacuating the building in shock and disbelief. 

A 54-year-old patient, Angeliek Vleesenbeek, described the events as “drama,” recalling how police instructed everyone to seek refuge in a nearby school.

The ordeal has left the community reeling, with many expressing disbelief that such an incident could occur in the Netherlands. Sem Built, a 38-year-old civil servant, expressed his astonishment, remarking that such violence is more commonly associated with the United States.

The suspect was taken into custody and identified as a student at the hospital, with prior contact with law enforcement stemming from a 2021 conviction for animal cruelty, specifically, mistreatment of his pet rabbit. Investigations are ongoing to ascertain any connection between the assailant and the teacher he targeted.

Authorities believe that the victims, a woman and her daughter, were closely connected to the suspect, suggesting that these may have been “targeted attacks,” according to Rotterdam’s police chief, Fred Westerbeke.

As investigations continue, Rotterdam is grappling with the aftermath of this senseless tragedy, while the nation mourns the loss of three lives and awaits answers regarding the horrifying events that transpired on that fateful Thursday.

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