Gunman in combat gear goes on shooting spree in Rotterdam

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A medical student opened fire at an apartment building and a hospital in the Dutch port city, police say

A 32-year-old medical student wearing combat gear has been apprehended by Rotterdam police after allegedly gunning down three people at an apartment and a downtown hospital, marking one of the deadliest shooting incidents in a country where such violence is uncommon.

The shooting spree began on Thursday afternoon at an apartment building near the suspect’s residence, where he shot a 39-year-old woman and her 14-year-old daughter, police said. The woman died at the scene, while the girl passed away after being rushed to a hospital.

The lone gunman, who wore a bulletproof vest, then shot and killed a 43-year-old professor in a classroom at the Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam Police Chief Fred Westerbeke told reporters. The student allegedly set fires at both crime scenes and was captured by police under the hospital’s helipad. Police didn’t identify the suspect or offer any speculation on his motive.

“We see his act as a targeted action, but it requires further research to gain clarity about how and why,” Westerbeke said. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte posted a statement saying there was “great dismay after the dramatic events in Rotterdam.” Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb called the turn of events “a black day.”

The shootings led to chaotic scenes in the Dutch port city, including people fleeing the hospital and patients being wheeled out on beds. Other people barricaded themselves in rooms at the hospital. Footage posted on social media shows people running and screaming at the sound of a loud bang. Another clip shows a man – possibly the suspect – apparently being detained by police with his hands cuffed behind his back and a blindfold placed over his eyes.

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Dutch King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima issued a statement expressing sympathy for family members and friends of the shooting victims. “We also think of everybody who lived in fear during these terrible actions,” they said.

A shooting last year at a Dutch day care center for disabled children left two people dead and two injured. In 2011, a gunman murdered five people and wounded 17 before killing himself at a mall south of Amsterdam.

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