On a Monday morning March 18 a terrible incident happened in the city of Utrecht, Netherlands. An armed man attacked a tram at approximately 10:45 am local time near the October 24 Square.
The attack led to three people dead and five injured. Among the victims who were killed were Rinke Terpstra, a coach at football association DESTO in Leisdche Rijn, and Roos Verschuur, a 19-year-old employee of the Kwalitaria snack bar in Vianen. One more victim is a 28-year-old man. Three of the five who were injured are in serious condition.
The attacker escaped the crime scene, but after an eight-hour manhunt, the police managed to arrest the suspect. The chief suspect was identified as 37-year-old Gökman Tanis, Turkish-born. The police suggested he might have had accomplices aмnd later two more suspects were arrested. All three attackers are in custody.
While investigating the shooting, the Utrecht police looked at it as a possible terrorist attack. Because the incident may be classified as a terrorist attack, the Netherlands officials raised the threat level in Utrecht to its highest classification on Monday.
Turkey reacted to the incident due to its citizen being involved. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated that the Turkish intelligence service started the investigation whether the shooting was a terrorist attack. Turkish media shared the information received from the main suspect’s family members. According to them, the motive was personal and not connected to terrorism. However, the Utrecht police still haven’t found any direct connection between the victims and the main suspect.
An official statement on the Koninklijk Huis website expresses King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima’s shock regarding the shooting and their sympathies to the victims, their families, and the residents of Utrecht. They called such acts of violence unacceptable and urged the citizens to “stand united and stand together for a society in which people can feel safe and in which freedom and tolerance prevail.”
Other countries to express their condolences are Turkey in a message from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the United States on the meeting attended by Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo and Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Sigrid Kaag; France and Germany represented by president Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel. All expressed their support and sympathies to the families of victims.