March 18, 2019 6:59 am
Updated: March 18, 2019 11:57 pm

Suspect arrested after tram shooting in Netherlands kills 3, injures 5: officials

WATCH: Dutch police arrested a Turkish man suspected of shooting dead three people and wounding five on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht on Monday.


Dutch police have arrested a Turkish man suspected of carrying out a shooting in Utrecht on Monday. The shooting killed three people and wounded five.

Three of the wounded are in critical condition.

Police confirmed the arrest on Twitter Monday afternoon, saying the suspect arrested was the one whose photos they released earlier in the day.

The tweet added that the arrest was made during a raid in the Old Town of Utrecht.

Dutch Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said the attacker “was known” to justice authorities and had a criminal record, but would not elaborate.

WATCH: A gunman opened fire on a public tram in the Netherlands, killing three people and wounding five others. The motive for the attack is unclear, but as Redmond Shannon reports, police say they haven’t ruled out terrorism.

Police had asked the public for help in finding 37-year-old Gokmen Tanis in relation to the incident. They said Tanis is originally from Turkey.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that he was “deeply concerned” and that crisis talks would be held in response to the incident.

“The first reports have led to disbelief and disgust. Innocent people have been struck by violence,” Rutte said.

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Following the arrest, Dutch National Counter-Terrorism Agency reduced the threat level for the central province of Utrecht by one notch. It had been raised to the highest level hours earlier.

The gunman’s motive remained unclear. A prosecutor said it could be for “family reasons” and Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency, quoting relatives of the gunman, said he had fired at a relative on the tram and had then shot at others who tried to help her.

WATCH: Eyewitness video shows armed Dutch police, civilians running from tram shooting scene

The Turkish intelligence agency said it is investigating whether the attack was personally motivated or an act of terrorism, President Tayyip Erdogan said.

Police said that shortly before the shooting, there was a carjacking nearby, but the car was later found abandoned.

Heavily armed anti-terrorism officers were also at an apartment building near the shooting.

Security officers control a building after a shooting in Utrecht, Netherlands, March 18, 2019, in this still image taken from a social media video.

Jacek Magala/ via REUTERS

The shooting took place in a Kanaleneiland, a quiet residential district on the outskirts of Utrecht with a large immigrant population, at 10:45 a.m. local time.

“It’s frightening that something like this can happen so close to home,” Omar Rahhou, who said his parents lived on a street cordoned off by police, told Reuters.

“These things normally happen far away but this brings it very close, awful.”

German police had also been asked to keep an eye out for the suspect, since they share a border with the Netherlands. Officials told the Associated Press they have increased the police presence to watch highways and railway routes.

READ MORE: Christchurch gun shop says it sold guns online to accused New Zealand shooter

Security was reportedly stepped up at mosques in the province as well, as the shooting comes only four days after mass shootings at two mosques in New Zealand. That shooting was deemed a terrorist attack and the suspected shooter, who was arrested, allegedly posted a manifesto espousing anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant views.

WATCH: Latest news videos on the Christchurch shooting

— With files from Global News reporter Maham Abedi, Reuters and the Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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