Dutch police arrest Turkish man suspected of killing 3 in tram shooting

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PHOTO: Dutch News

Dutch police have arrested a Turkish man suspected of shooting dead three people and wounding five others on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday, according to a Reuters report.

Police said the suspect, 37-year-old Gökmen Tanış, had been taken into custody after an hours-long manhunt and had earlier run-ins with authorities in the Netherlands.

The city was put on lockdown after the shooting, shortly after the morning rush hour, which authorities initially said was an apparent terrorist attack. Police conducted raids on several locations after issuing a picture of Tanis and warning the public not to approach him.

But hours after the shooting, the gunman’s motive remained unclear. A prosecutor said it could be for “family reasons,” and Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, quoting relatives of the gunman, said he had fired at a relative on the tram and had then shot at others who tried to help her.

The Turkish intelligence agency said it is investigating whether the attack was personally motivated or an act of terrorism, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said.

Earlier on Wednesday Dutch authorities had raised the terrorism threat in Utrecht to its highest level, schools were told to shut their doors and paramilitary police increased security at airports, other vital infrastructure and at mosques.

The threat level was reduced by one notch to where it had been after the suspect was arrested, the National Counter-Terrorism Agency said.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte convened crisis talks immediately after the incident, which came three days after a lone gunman killed 50 people in mass shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand.

“Our country has today been shocked by an attack in Utrecht. … A terrorist motive cannot be excluded,” Rutte said. “The first reports have led to disbelief and disgust. Innocent people have been struck by violence.”

The mayor of Utrecht, Jan van Zanen, said three people had been killed and five injured, three of them critically.

The suspect had previously been arrested, regional prosecutor Rutger Jeuken told reporters, without giving further details.

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