Student gunman kills two in Rotterdam twin shootings, Dutch police say

Two people have been killed and a teenager is fighting for her life after a 32-year-old gunman opened fire at a house and a hospital in Rotterdam on Thursday.

Dutch police said they were still investigating the motive for the twin attacks by the man dressed in combat gear, who also set fire to the hospital.

The man first burst into a house in the Dutch port city and opened fire, killing a 39-year-old woman and seriously injuring her 14-year-old daughter, police chief Fred Westerbeke told reporters.

He then moved to a classroom at the Erasmus MC hospital, shooting dead a 46-year-old teacher before starting a fire in the facility, sparking panic.

People stand on the pavement near a medical centre on Thursday after Dutch police arrest a shooting suspect in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Photo: Reuters

Elite police stormed the hospital, as panicked doctors in white coats flooded out of the building pushing patients in wheelchairs and on stretchers.

“First there was a shooting on the fourth floor. Four or five shots were fired. Then a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the education centre,” said a medical student cited by RTL Nieuws, who did not give his name.

“There was a lot of panic and screaming … I didn’t hear any shots, just the panic and that’s what I started to act on,” public broadcaster NOS cited another witness as saying.

Pictures showed helicopters buzzing overhead and police snipers taking up positions on the hospital roof.

Two dead in shooting at Dutch ‘care farm’

Police said the suspect, a student at the hospital, was already known to the authorities over a conviction for animal cruelty.

Authorities had earlier said he was wearing “combat-style” clothes, was tall, with black hair and carrying a backpack. He was only thought to have possessed one firearm and there is no indication he had accomplices.

Chief public prosecutor Hugo Hillenaar told reporters that the suspect was cooperating with police following his arrest.

“We cannot say anything about the motive of this terrible act at this time. The probe is still ongoing.”

Emergency services attend to the scene at Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam on Thursday. Photo: AP

“It’s unbelievable,” said Rotterdam GP Matthijs van der Poel, cited on the Algemeen Dagblad website.

“Everyone is totally shocked by the events and is watching the news with horror. I’m afraid such things cannot be prevented,” he said.

Rotterdam is often the scene of shootings, usually attributed to score settling by rival drug gangs.

In 2019, three people were shot dead on a tram in Utrecht, sparking a huge manhunt. And in 2011, the country was left shocked when 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis killed six people and wounded 10 others in a rampage at a packed shopping centre.

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