Dutch police hunt Turkish born suspect after shooting on tram kills 3, and wounds several more – Terrorist motive suspected

Rescue workers install a screen on the spot where a body was covered with a white blanket following a shooting in Utrecht, Netherlands, Monday, March 18, 2019. Police in the central Dutch city of Utrecht say on Twitter that "multiple" people have been injured as a result of a shooting in a tram in a residential neighborhood. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

By ALEKSANDAR FURTULA and MIKE CORDER,  Associated Press  UTRECHT, Netherlands (AP) 03/18 — Dutch police were hunting down a suspect after a shooting Monday on a tram in the central city of Utrecht that left three people dead and multiple people injured.

Authorities immediately raised the terror alert for the area to the maximum level and said they are considering the possibility of a “terrorist motive” in the attack. Dutch military police went on extra alert at Dutch airports and at key buildings in the country as the Utrecht manhunt took place.Police, including heavily armed officers, flooded the area after the shooting Monday morning on a tram at a busy traffic intersection in a residential neighborhood. They later erected a white tent over an area where a body appeared to be lying next to the tram.Utrecht police said trauma helicopters were sent to the scene and appealed to the public to stay away. As the manhunt continued, heavily armed anti-terror officers gathered in front of an apartment block close to the scene.Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the situation “very worrying.”

Map locates Utrecht, Netherlands, where shooting occorred on tram.

 

Police spokesman Bernhard Jens said no one had been detained yet in the shooting, and one possible “explanation is that the person fled by car.” He did not rule out the possibility that more than one shooter was involved in the attack.

“We want to try to catch the person responsible as soon as possible,” Jens said.

A German police spokesman said German authorities near the border were initially told to look out for a red Renault Clio compact sedan but were later told it had been found abandoned in Utrecht. There was no immediate confirmation on that from Dutch police.

The Netherlands’ anti-terror coordinator raised the threat alert to its highest level around Utrecht. Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said the “threat level has gone to 5, exclusively for the Utrecht province.”

“The culprit is still on the run. A terror motive cannot be excluded,” he said in a Twitter message.

In this image taken from the Twitter page of Lilian Bruigom, emergency services attend the scene of a shooting in Utrecht, Netherlands, Monday March 18, 2019. Police in the central Dutch city of Utrecht say on Twitter that “multiple” people have been injured as a result of a shooting in a tram in a residential neighborhood. (Lilian Bruigom via AP)

 

After the shooting, Dutch political parties halted campaigning ahead of a provincial election scheduled for Wednesday that will also determine the makeup of the Dutch parliament’s upper house.

In neighboring Germany, police stepped up their surveillance of the Dutch border. Heinrich Onstein, a spokesman for federal police in North Rhine-Westphalia state, said additional officers had been detailed to watch not only major highways, but also minor crossings and railway routes.

German police are in close contact with authorities in the Netherlands and have a description of the suspect, he said, but would not elaborate for security reasons.

___

Corder reported from The Hague. Raf Casert in Brussels and Geir Moulson and David Rising in Berlin contributed.

https://www.apnews.com/33892f990908436fa43371e302ff6098

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

 

Utrecht Police have issued a BOLO:

Politie UtrechtVerified account @PolitieUtrecht: The police asks you to look out for the 37 year old Gökman Tanis (born in Turkey) associated with the incident this morning at the #24oktoberplein in #Utrecht. Do not approach him but call 0800-6070.

 

Posted in: Assault, Deaths, Extremism/Extremist Groups, Fugitives, Hate Crime, Homicide, International Policing, Islamic Terrorism/Extremism, Mass Casualty Attacks, Murder/Attempted Murder, Shootings, Victims of Terrorism

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