Rutte: De Vries shooting "shocking and incomprehensible"
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte reacted with scorn to the news that celebrity crime reporter Peter R. de Vries was shot in broad daylight in Amsterdam on Tuesday night. Two people, possibly including the shooter, were taken into custody on the A4 after the crime, and a third was held in Amsterdam-Oost.
Rutte and Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus met with the NCTV, the country's counter-terrorism office, after the shooting. "The attack on Peter R. de Vries is shocking and incomprehensible," said Rutte at a press conference Tuesday night, comments similar to many other politicians in the country. "An attack on a courageous journalist and the free press that is so essential for our democracy; our rule of law."
He offered his support to the victim's family and loved ones, as De Vries was in critical condition and fighting for his life. "We all fervently hope - we pray - that he survives this attack. That is the most important thing now. We are doing everything we can to ensure that justice takes its course."
Grapperhaus was visibly shaken by the shooting, similar to when Derk Wiersum was shot dead in Amsterdam two years ago in front of his home. Wiersum was representing Nabil B. at the time, the government's key witness against drug gang leader Ridouan Taghi and his associates who are being tried for assassinations and attempted murder.
De Vries was also assisting Nabil B. and was recently said to be on a hit list for his cooperation in the case. Grapperhaus would not say if De Vries was given extra police protection.
"Tonight an extraordinary journalist was shot," said Grapperhaus. "The Netherlands is a country where we really always want journalists to conduct any investigation in total freedom, and that freedom has been severely shaken tonight. And that affects journalists, and damages our society."
"I thought he was an admirable fighter against injustice who always stood up for the underlying parties," said Grapperhaus, who caught himself speaking in past tense and then corrected himself.
The minister pledged that everything will be done to find those involved, and bring them to trial. "We will do everything we can to uncover the facts."