Two people were killed in a shooting spree in Rotterdam on Thursday afternoon which resulted in the arrest of a 32-year-old man, a student at Rotterdam’s Erasmus teaching hospital, police told a press conference on Thursday evening.
A 39-year-old woman was shot dead at an apartment on the Heiman Dullaertplein in the port city and her 14-year-old daughter was seriously injured shortly before 3 pm. The suspect, who went on to set fire to one of the apartments in the building, lived in a flat “very close” to that of his victim, police said.
The man then went to the Erasmus UMC teaching hospital, some 1.5 kilometres away, and shot dead a 46-year-old lecturer in a classroom. He then moved to another part of the university hospital and set fire to a space, 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 said. “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 he was arrested and sentenced for abusing animals, but declined to give further details.
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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