Utrecht tram shooting: Our country startled by attack, says Netherlands PM Mark Rutte
Amsterdam, March 19: The shooting inside a tram on the 24 Oktoberplein in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands on Monday (March 16) morning resulting in the death of three persons and injury to nine has "startled" the European country, said its prime minister Mark Rutte.
The PM was speaking in a hurriedly arranged press conference on Monday afternoon where he said: "Our country was startled today by an attack in Utrecht. Now it is certain that the passengers on a tram were shot. There were injuries and possibly fatalities. Our thoughts are with the victims whose lives have been turned upside down."
Rutte also revealed little fresh details at the press conference and neither took questions from the reporters. He continued to hold the official position that the incident might have been a terror attack but investigation was yet underway.
Last week, a horrific shooting incident hit Christchurch in New Zealand where two packed mosques were targeted by a right-wing extremist, resulting in death of 50 people.
European Union Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he spoke to Rutte over the situation and said the EU stood by the side of the Netherlands in the times of difficulty. "The EU stands side by side with the Netherlands and its people during these difficult times. My thoughts are with the wounded and their families," Juncker stated on Twitter.
I have just spoken with @markrutte to get an update of the situation in #Utrecht. The #EU stands side by side with the #Netherlands and its people during these difficult times. My thoughts are with the wounded and their families.— Jean-Claude Juncker (@JunckerEU) March 18, 2019
The suspect behind the attack is 37-year-old Turkish Gökmen Tanis who was reportedly the suspect in a 2017 rape case that was heard in a court just two weeks ago, NL Times reported.