Shopping centre shooting: thousands attend memorial meeting

The shopping centre in Alphen aan den Rijn, where on Saturday a lone gunman killed six people and then shot himself, remained closed on Monday as the police continued the process of establishing what exactly happened and why.

At schools throughout the town, health officials are on standby to help children who witnessed the shooting in the busy Ridderhof centre at around midday.
Some 5,000 people attended a memorial meeting outside the Ridderhof centre on Sunday night, including prime minister Mark Rutte.
‘This is a tragedy that has struck deep at the heart of Alphen,’the prime minister said. The queen too expressed her deep sorrow at the killing, Rutte said.
On Sunday night, police picked up a ‘very emotional’ man outside the shopping centre who was found to be carrying a knife. He told police his mother was one of the six victims.
Meanwhile, the Telegraaf reports that the gunman, 24-year-old Tristan van Vlis was considered an inoffensive, dull young man ‘who could have been anyone’s neighbour’.
Several weeks ago he stopped his job working for a temporary employment agency, the paper said. Family members described him as ‘down’ but not worrisome. In 2006 he had spent 10 days in an institution after having suicidal thoughts.
But since then, the authorities are not aware of any recent psychological problems, public prosecution department spokewoman Kitty Nooy said.
Earlier, she told reporters the note left by Van der Vlis at his mother’s house was ‘spiritual rather than threatening’.
However, one resident in the block of flats where Van der Vlis lived with his father told the paper the youth had told her he was ‘angry with society and planned to shot everything and everyone’.
Colleagues at a Dirk van den Broek supermarket where he worked two years ago said he had also threatened to shoot people.
Van der Vlis was a member of a shooting club and had a licence for five guns. He shot dead three men and three women. A number of people are still very seriously ill in hospital.
More on this
Shopping centre shooting, gunman was suicidal
Shopping centre death toll reaches seven, gunman was local

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