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.
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.
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.
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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