Dutch cops honor French colleague who died in supermarket hostage drama
Dutch police officers are en masse expressing sympathy and praise for French officer Arnaud Beltrame, who gave his life to save a cashier during a hostage situation at a supermarket in Trebes on Friday, AD reports.
"Respect and sympathy for our French colleague's family", National Police Chief Erik Akerboom said on Twitter.
Three police officers from Midden-Nederland posted a photo of Beltrame on Facebook with the message: "Arnaud Beltrame, hero of Trebes. Let us never forget his name." The post is being massively shared. The Dutch officers that posted the message have been calling attention to violence against police officers for years with the sale of special bracelets.
On Friday gunman Redouane Lakdim left three people dead and sixteen injured in a series of attacks in France, according to AD. He started by hijacking a car in Carcassonne, killing a passenger and leaving the driver seriously injured. He then opened fire on four jogging police officers who happened to cross his path, leaving one of them seriously injured. Around 10:30 a.m. he entered a Super U supermarket in Trebes and opened fire immediately. A butcher and a customer were killed, and twelve others were injured.
Lakdim took a cashier hostage. Officer Beltrame volunteered to take her place. After the two switched places, Lakdim shot at Beltrame four times and stabbed him. The officer later died in hospital. He was 45. The French police shot and killed Lakdim. Terrorist organization ISIS later claimed the attack.
The heroic deed evoked an emotional response from many police officers in the Netherlands. Beltrame's brave act gives you goosebumps, Dutch police officer Julian Steenbeek, one of the cops behind the Thin Line Bracelets initiative, said to AD. "Try to imagine it. You say goodbye at home for a day at work and then it ends so bizarrely. That is simply unimaginable."
"How great is your dedication as a policeman and what kind of a hero are you if you take the place of a hostage and pay for it with your life. Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame did that." a team of the Rotterdam police said.
"Where others take a step back, we do the opposite. Our thoughts are with Arnaud's family and colleagues", Rotterdam Zuidplein community officer Ronald Mul said to AD.
"Police officers step up where others step back", Henk van Essen, deputy police chief in Rotterdam, said to the newspaper. "Personal safety and the safety of others is of course paramount in that. The situation such as in France on Friday typifies the motivation of police officers to step forward regardless of the danger. This can not be described in a protocol or or instruction manual. That deserves a great deal of respect."
France will hold a nationwide tribute for officer Beltrame on Wednesday. Many police officers in the Netherlands would like to also pay tribute to their fallen colleague. According to AD, the corps leadership say they will have opportunity to do so.