Teenager killed, two hurt in Amsterdam shooting; mayor called on to "do something"

Fuck Justitie scrawled on the side of a building block where police responded to a shooting on Jan. 26. January 29, 2018
Fuck Justitie scrawled on the side of a building block where police responded to a shooting on Jan. 26. January 29, 2018Photo: Zachary Newmark / NL Times

A 17-year-old boy was killed and two others were injured in a shooting at a community center in the Amsterdam neighborhood of Wittenburg on Friday night. The boy was identified as Mohammed Bouchikhi. His family and scared local residents call on interim Amsterdam mayor Jozias van Aartsen to "do something" about the assassinations in the Dutch capital, the Telegraaf reports.

According to the police, the shooting happened at the community center on Grote Wittenburgerstraat at around 7:30 p.m. on Friday. Around a dozen shots were fired. Bouchikhi was declared dead at the scene. Two others, a young man and a young woman, were taken to hospital with bullet wounds. So far no arrests were made. 

The police launched an extensive investigation into the shooting, particularly looking into whether this shooting is related to another shooting in the area on November 23rd last year. In that shooting one person was killed and three were injured. 

The police stress that there is no indication that this was a terrorism-related attack. So far investigation points to an assassination in the criminal world.

The 17-year-old boy who was killed worked at the community center as an intern, according to Het Parool. He had no criminal record and no previous contact with the police. The newspaper believes that the actual target of this attack was the young man who was injured - 19-year-old Gianni L. The young man was one of the persons inured in the shooting on Kattenburgerkade on November 23rd.

"Now I have lost my sweet little innocent nephew who unfortunately was in the line of fire of a bunch of madmen", Bouchikhi's uncle Hassane Ouled Ali wrote in an open letter addressed to the Amsterdam college of mayor and aldermen on Facebook. He describes his nephew as a nice and sweet boy who was well loved in he neighborhood. "He helped elderly neighbors put their garbage bags outside and always had time for a laugh and a chat with everyone", the uncle wrote. "He was working on his future and wanted a job where he could help other people."

He asks the mayor and aldermen what concrete steps they are taking to keep Amsterdam residents safe, pointing out that this shooting happened at a community center where children as young as six can come take cooking or kick boxing lessons. This shooting left Bouchikhi's family, and local residents, with numerous questions, Ouled Ali wrote. Not in the least about the police's role.

"Why did the community center counselors not know anything about [Gianni L. being a target] and the fact that he was apparently on a hit list? Why did the police not inform the counselors of the community center about the target so that he could be denied access to the community center?"

Ouled Ali also raised concerns about what will happen once L. is released from hospital. "Those who seek him are ruthless and will not take innocent bystanders into account. So it is a matter of days, weeks or months before another attack is committed with innocent victims as a result."

Mayor Van Aartsen is meeting with the Public Prosecutor and police on Monday to discuss this latest fatal shooting, according to the Telegraaf. He released a statement saying that he understands the unrest and fear in the Wittenburg neighborhood, but can not yet say what measures is being considered to keep people in the neighborhood safe. "This kind of firearm violence is a very serious disturbance of public order. Amsterdammers must feel safe in their own neighborhood."