Rotterdam shooting death toll rises to three as girl, 14, dies

Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb at the scene of the first shooting. Photo: Jeffrey Groeneweg ANP

The death toll in the Rotterdam hospital shooting rose to three on Thursday evening when a 14-year-old girl died of her injuries.

The girl’s mother died earlier in the afternoon, as did a lecturer at Rotterdam’s Erasmus UMC teaching hospital.

Police have arrested a 32-year-old man, a student at the university, in connection with the shootings.

The killing spree began shortly before 3 pm when the suspect first shot the woman and her daughter and then set fire to one of the apartments in the same building, possibly his own. He lived in a flat “very close” to that of his victims, police said.

The man then went to the Erasmus UMC teaching hospital, some 1.5 kilometres  away, and shot dead a 43-year-old lecturer in a classroom. He then moved to another part of the university hospital and set a fire, possibly using a Molotov cocktail.

The man was wearing a bullet proof vest and carrying a gun when he was arrested as he left one of the buildings. Police had said earlier he was arrested on the hospital’s helipad.

Police say they now believe he acted alone.  “We are not looking for anyone else,” Rotterdam police chief Fred Westerbeke told a press conference earlier on Thursday evening. “It was a focused act. We are now looking at reasons why.”

Public prosecution department chief Hugo Hillenaar said the man was known to the police and in 2021 was arrested and sentenced for abusing animals, but declined to give further details.

According to the AD, he was given a 40-hour community service sentence for abusing his pet rabbit. The man, given the initials L C by the paper, blamed the incident on a “drunken psychosis.”

The suspect will appear in court for a remand hearing on Monday or Tuesday.

Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said the shooting had shaken the city. “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those who died and those who witnessed what happened at close hand.”

Officials said they could not confirm what the relationship between the shooter and the woman who died is, or if the lecturer was one of the suspect’s teachers.


“The incident only happened a couple of hours ago and we still have to establish the facts,” Aboutaleb said.

He also said that reports the man had been turned down for a course at the hospital could not yet be confirmed.

A neighbour told local broadcaster Rijnmond the woman who died had made several complaints about the suspect and his treatment of his dog and rabbits to the housing corporation that owned the building.

“But of course, I don’t know if that is behind what happened today,” he said.

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