By Sara Malm and Jessica Green and Shekhar Bhatia In Utrecht For Mail Online
- Police release photo of Gökmen Tanis, 37, captured on the tram’s CCTV just minutes before the shooting
- Three people have died and five people are injured after the shooting in Utrecht, central Netherlands
- Police said the gunman ‘who may have had a terrorist motive’, opened fire on a tram in the city centre
- The assailant fled the scene but police have since arrested a suspect in the Oudernoord district of Utrecht
- Tanis’ family members in Turkey say the person targeted on the tram was a relative of the 37-year-old
- Dutch government raised the terrorism threat level to highest possible, and schools were on lockdown earlier
- Incident took place just three days after a terror attack on two mosques in New Zealand where 50 were killed
A gunman has killed three people on a tram in the Dutch city of Utrecht in what authorities said may have been a terror attack, and a suspect has been seized after an hours-long manhunt which saw schools and businesses in lockdown.
Turkish-born Gökmen Tanis, 37, was allegedly targeting one of his own relatives in this morning’s shooting, which left five other people injured, and saw the terrorism threat level in Utrecht raised to the highest possible.
The suspect – who ‘was known’ to authorities – was detained during a raid on the Oudernoord district of Utrecht, and the threat level in the province has been downgraded by one notch as a result of the arrest, Dutch police confirmed. Two other arrests were also made by police probing the attacks.
Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte said some people wounded in the tram attack ‘are still in critical condition’, with ‘three people fighting for their lives’.
Tanis’ relatives in Turkey told Anadolu news agency that the 37-year-old had opened fire on a relative ‘for family reasons’ and later shot at others trying to intervene.
The Turkish intelligence agency are investigating whether the attack was personally motivated or an act of terrorism, President Tayyip Erdogan said in a televised interview
According to local media the shooter shouted ‘Allah Akbar’ as he opened fire and that a note found in his car led investigators to initially believe a terrorist link.
But officers are working on the theory that he was targeting an ex-love or her family and he merely shouted in Arabic.
Mr Rutte added that ‘a terror motive is not excluded’ and that the attack was met throughout the country with ‘a mix of disbelief and disgust’.
‘If it had terror motives, that is being investigated. But it was very serious. The world shares our grief,’ he said.
The Prime Minister has issued instructions for flags outside government buildings to fly at half-mast tomorrow, to show ‘the whole of the Netherlands shares [the victims’] deep pain’.
Armed police raided a first floor apartment in Oudenoord, around two miles from where the attack happened, at 4pm, more than five hours after the incident.