Gunman Opens Fire On Train in Netherlands; 3 People Killed, 9 Wounded as Police Hunt for Suspect

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)
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)

The Latest on a shooting in a tram in the Netherlands (all times local):

3:10 p.m.

The mayor of the Dutch city of Utrecht says that three people have been killed in an attack on a tram and adds that a “terror motive” is the most plausible option.

Jan van Zanen also said that nine have been wounded, three of them seriously.

Van Zanen said that “we cannot exclude, even stronger, we assume a terror motive. Likely there is one attacker, but there could be more.”

Dutch authorities have named a 37-year-old Turkey-born man as linked to the tram shooting.

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2:55 p.m.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte says that the Netherlands has been hit by an attack in Utrecht and that terrorism isn’t excluded, after one person was killed in a tram shooting along with an unknown number of wounded.

Rutte says that “our nation was hit by an attack in Utrecht. It is clear there were shots on tram passengers in Utrecht, that there are wounded,” without specifying how many. He said that “a terror motive is not excluded.”

Rutte said that throughout the nation, “there is a mix of disbelief and disgust.”

He said “if it is terror attack then we have only one answer: our nation, democracy must be stronger that fanaticism and violence.”

Dutch authorities have named a 37-year-old Turkey-born man as linked to the tram shooting.

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2:30 p.m.

Dutch authorities have named a 37-year-old Turkey-born man as linked to the tram shooting in the central Dutch town of Utrecht.

Police showed the picture of a bearded man sitting on public transport and dressed in a dark blue top with a hood tucked in his neck. Police identified him as Gokmen Tanis.

It was the first image distributed of someone linked to the shooting. Police warned citizens not to approach the man but call authorities instead.

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This item has been corrected to show that the spelling of Turkey-born man’s name is Gokmen, not Gokman.

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1:30 p.m.

German police say they have upped surveillance on the country’s border with the Netherlands and are on the lookout for the gunman behind a shooting in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

Heinrich Onstein, a spokesman for the federal police in the border state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told The Associated Press on Monday that additional police had been added to watch not only major highways, but also minor crossings as well as railway routes.

He says the federal police are in close contact with authorities in the Netherlands and have a description of the suspect.

He says initially German authorities were told to look out for a red Renault Clio compact sedan but now have been told it was found abandoned in Utrecht.

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1:15 p.m.

Heavily armed anti-terror officers have gathered in front of an apartment block close to the scene of a deadly shooting on a tram in the central Dutch city of Utrecht.

Authorities say that a suspect is still on the run following the shooting late morning Monday in which one person was killed and police said multiple others were wounded.

From the tram scene, security officials have moved to a location some 200 meters away where they are awaiting further instructions.

Police said they were searching for the shooter “with all possible means.”

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12:35 p.m.

The Dutch anti-terror coordinator has raised the threat alert to its highest level around the central Dutch town of Utrecht following the shooting incident on a tram in the city, with the shooter still on the run.

Anti-terror coordinator Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg said in a statement that the “threat level has gone to 5, exclusively for the Utrecht province,” referring to the highest level.

“The culprit is still on the run. A terror motive cannot be excluded,” he said in a Twitter message. He called on citizens to closely follow the indications of the local police.

Dutch police say they are looking for a least one person who might have fled by car.

Spokesman Bernhard Jens did not exclude more people might be involved.

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

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12:30 p.m.

Police have erected a white tent over an area where a body appears to be lying next to a tram following reports of a shooting in the Dutch city of Utrecht.

Earlier, footage showed what appeared to be a body lying under a white blanket.

Police had said that there were “multiple” people wounded in the shooting Monday morning.

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12:10 p.m.

Police in the central Dutch city of Utrecht say they are investigating a shooting in a tram that left “multiple” people injured and are considering the possibility of a “terrorist motive.”

Police, including heavily armed officers, flooded the area after the shooting that happened Monday morning on a tram at a busy traffic intersection.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the situation “very worrying” and the country’s counterterror coordinator said in a tweet that a crisis team was meeting to discuss the situation.

There have been no reports yet of any suspects arrested.

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11:40 a.m.

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.

Utrecht police say that trauma helicopters were sent to the scene Monday and they are appealing to the public to stay away to allow first responders to do their work.

Further details were not immediately available.


EARLIER REPORT

Dutch police were hunting down a suspect after a shooting Monday on a tram in the central city of Utrecht that left one person 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.”

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.

SOURCE: ALEKSANDAR FURTULA and MIKE CORDER, AP