Man shot dead in Zwolle ran drugs and guns; Neighbors "relieved"

Politie patch on a Dutch police officer's uniform
Politie patch on a Dutch police officer's uniform. Aug. 20, 2015JoeppoulssenDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

Neighbors in the Kamperpoort neighborhood of Zwolle painted a grim picture of Henk W., a man found shot and killed there on New Year's Eve. One resident, Wietze, who knew the victim told RTV Oost he was "not known to be a sweetheart" and that she always suspected something like this would happen to him.

Another said it was "a relief" that he was gone.

W. was found lying on the Buitengasthuisstraat on Tuesday evening. Police were called to the scene for a reported stabbing, finding the 52-year-old W. shot instead.  He was pronounced dead at the scene after a failed attempt to revive him.

Once the crime scene was released, several bullet holes were found on other nearby homes, according to newspaper De Stentor. It led neighbors to speculate that perhaps W. ran from his attackers and was gunned down just around the corner from his home, broadcaster RTV Oost said.

The newspaper said it was an open secret that W. and his neighbor, Mario R., were running guns and involved in drug trafficking. R., thought to be part of an organized crime crew in which W. was the leader, reportedly bragged about it during a neighborhood block party.

One neighbor told the paper that R. even discussed moving weapons and drugs from one home to another when police were investigating them earlier in the year.

Another neighbor, Paula, told the broadcaster she and her boyfriend were always concerned about the suspicious activity. After seeing a bullet hole in a drainpipe a few doors down, she said, "Now we want to get out of this house as quickly as possible."

"We have a nice city with a pleasant atmosphere, but [crime that undermines society] and drug crime also play a role here," said Zwolle mayor Peter Snijders in his New Year's address to the city. "The fact that people are walking around with a firearm in Zwolle and fighting their arguments with this, I find shocking. That does not fit in this city."

Another resident told of how Henk W. once threatened to shoot a former resident's dog. "You couldn't argue about anything. He quickly became aggressive," the neighbor said.

"I would have preferred him to leave in a normal manner, but it is a relief that he is now out of here," he said. "Of course it is terrible for the family, but for the neighborhood it is sort of relieving."

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