The gunman who shot dead seven people and injured 16 in a shopping centre in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn on Saturday has been identified as 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis.
Van der Vlis turned a gun on himself after spraying the shopping centre with bullets on a busy Saturday lunch time, sending shoppers fleeing in panic.
According to the Telegraaf, Van der Vlis had come into contact with the police in 2003, when he was 16 or 17 in connection with guns. He was also a member of a gun club and had a police permit for five weapons. It is not clear if any of these were used in the shooting, the Telegraaf said.
His mother found is reported to have found a farewell letter in her home. Her son shared a different flat with his father. Their home, in a large modern block is just 150 metres from the shopping centre, the Telegraaf said.
Alphen aan den Rijn mayor Bas Eenhoorn told Nos television the letter focused on Van der Vlis’ plans to commit suicide but did not give an indication that he had planned the attack or any motive.
A note was also found in his car saying explosives had been planted in three other shopping centres in Alphen aan den Rijn. According to the Telegraaf, all three have been sealed off and searched.
A number of the injured people are in a very critical condition in hospital. The victims include a number of children, Nos television said.
Van der Vlis, described as white with long blond hair and wearing a bomber jacket and army trousers, is said to have shot people in and outside the shopping centre.
‘There was a tremendous panic, everyone was running. I saw people lying on the ground,’ the owner of a pet shop told Nos television. ‘When I saw the gunman, I ran inside and closed the metal shutters.’
Another eye witness told how two elderly ladies locked themselves into a public toilet and phoned the police, who were already on their way.
A third told the Telegraaf Van der Vlis had shot a woman on an invalid scooter outside the centre and a young man at the Albert Heijn supermarket checkout.
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