Netherlands police say ‘possible terrorist attack’ in Utrecht tram leaves 3 dead

At least three people were killed and several others injured in what police in the Dutch city of Utrecht say is a possible terrorist attack after a man opened fire on a tram on Monday, March 18.

Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen said three people were killed and nine others wounded, and police later said five were injured.

Van Zanen later said three people were seriously wounded.

“The situation is still not very clear,” he told a press conference. “We are trying to understand the circumstances of this incident.”

“We cannot rule out [a] terrorist motive. Crisis team is activated,” National Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Security (Nationaal Coördinator Terrorismebestrijding en Veiligheid) chief Pieter-Jaap Aalbersberg tweeted on Monday.

Aalbersberg later told reporters that shootings “took place this morning at several locations in Utrecht,” but Utrecht police said on Tuesday that there was one shooting, around 10:45 a.m. (0945 GMT) on a tram at the 24 Oktoberplein transport hub.

Police arrested the suspected shooter, identified as 37-year-old Gökmen Tanis, who was born in Turkey.

Tanis fled the scene of the shooting in a red Renault Clio, which police said had been stolen before the attack and later recovered at the Tichelaars Avenue around 12:40 p.m.

A letter found in the Clio has led officials to seriously consider a terrorist motive “among other things and the nature of the facts,” police and the public prosecutor said in a statement Tuesday.

On Tuesday, police said they found no direct relations between Tanis and any of the victims.

The victims have been identified only as a 19-year old woman from Vianen, and two men, aged 28 and 49. Three people seriously injured have been identified as a 20-year-old Utrecht woman, a woman from Nieuwegein, aged 21, and a 74-year-old man from De Meern.

A second person arrested during search operations has not been identified.

This story was updated multiple times on March 18 and 19, 2019 with new information.

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