Five dead in Dutch shopping mall shooting
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A gunman shot five people and injured at least 11 others at a shopping mall in a small Dutch town on Saturday before turning his automatic weapon on himself, the town’s mayor told reporters.
The mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn, a town 46 km (29 miles) south of Amsterdam with a population of 72,000, said there were a large number of people in the shopping center when the “unprecedented” shooting took place.
“A man with an automatic weapon, whose identity we cannot reveal, started shooting and killed five people and then himself,” Bas Eenhoorn, the town’s mayor, told reporters.
“Four people were very badly injured, five mildly wounded, and at least two slightly injured.”
Police officials were not immediately available for comment and there were no media reports on a possible motive for the shooting.
Dutch public broadcaster NOS quoted eye witnesses saying the gunman had blond hair and was about 25-years-old.
“Some people were running to the exit, shouting ‘shots, shots’. I saw two people laying on the floor as a young man was approaching. He was white, about 25, 26-years-old with curly hair,” a shop owner told NOS.
“He was wearing camouflage pants. I saw him get a new (ammunition) case and reload his weapon.”
Dutch ANP newsagency quoted a pet shop owner in the mall as saying the gunman emptied an automatic weapon at people standing nearby and then shot himself in the head.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a statement he was “horrified” at the incident.
“My thoughts are with victims, survivors, and all who have been involved in this tragedy,” he said.
(Reporting by Ivana Sekularac and Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Sophie Hares)