Saturday 15 August 2020

Utrecht shooting suspect confesses to crime, second man released


The man suspected of shooting dead three people on a tram in Utrecht on Monday has confessed to the crime, the public prosecution department said in a short statement on Friday.

In addition, Gökmen Tanis has confirmed he acted alone, the department said. The the 40-year-old man arrested earlier this week has been released from custody and is no longer considered a suspect.

The statement did not say if Tanis, 37, had admitted there was a terrorist motive for his crime, as police believe. He was remanded in court for two weeks on Friday while the investigation continues.

Tanis was arrested on Monday evening after a city-wide hunt. He is suspected of carrying out the shooting with terrorist intent although police said earlier they have not ruled out personal problems playing a role. He will now undergo psychiatric evaluation.

Police say they suspect a terrorist motive was behind the killings because of the note left by Tanis in the red Renault Clio which he had stolen and used as a getaway car after the shooting.

Police have not said what was written in the note but said that it did point to Tanis having jihadi views. Tanis has a history of petty crime and had been released from jail on licence pending a trial for rape less than three weeks before the shooting


Meanwhile, prime minister Mark Rutte and the mayors of Amsterdam and The Hague will join the silent march for the victims which is being held on Friday evening.

The anti-Islam group Pegida has also said it will take part.

The march will begin at the Jaarbeurs in the city centre and end on the 24 Oktoberplein where the shooting took place. People wishing to attend are being asked to bring red and white flowers – red and white being the colours of the Utrecht flag.

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