Suspect in care farm fatal shooting tied to third death in Vlissingen
The man suspected of a deadly shooting at a care farm in Alblasserdam on Friday morning was also wanted for involvement in a fatal crime in Vlissingen on Wednesday evening, said the region’s chief public prosecutor, Hugo Hillenaar, at a press conference in Alblasserdam. The 38-year-old suspect will face three counts of either murder or manslaughter at an initial court appearance next week.
On the evening of May 4, a dead man was found in a shop on Sint Jacobsstraat in the Zeeland city. He was the 60-year-old businessman running Mijn Schoenmaker and the Zeeuwse Slipper Factory, police said. Investigators immediately said they believed the man was the victim of a crime. His body was found at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
Then at 11 a.m. on Friday, a shooting was reported at the Tro Tardi care farm on Molensingel. It left two people dead, including a 34-year-old woman from Alblasserdam and a 16-year-old girl from Dordrecht. The seriously injured victims are a 20-year-old woman from Alblasserdam and a 12-year-old boy from Hendrik-Ido-Ambacht. They were still being treated at an area hospital on Friday evening, said the Zuid-Holland-Zuid district police chief, Dennis den Os. A fifth victim was treated for minor injuries.
The suspect, a 38-year-old man from Oud-Alblas, is in restricted custody, and is only allowed to have contact with his legal representation. He had been a client who was treated at the farm in the past, Hillenaar said. He was known to be someone who exhibited disturbed behavior, but who did not have a criminal record, the authorities confirmed during the press conference.
The suspect was already under consideration in the separate case from Vlissingen. The police said, “The man was on the run. On Friday morning shortly after the tragedy in Alblasserdam, it turned out that the arrested man was the same man sought by Zeeland police.”
There is believed to be a connection between the incident there, and the shooting in Alblasserdam. At the press conference, Hillenaar was unwilling to elaborate further on the theory.
Alblasserdam’s mayor, Jaap Paans, said Friday was a dark day for the Zuid-Holland municipality. Hours before the shooting at the Tro Tardi farm, two young women from the city died in a traffic accident there. The women, aged 18 and 19 and both from Alblasserdam, were riding on a scooter that collided with a car at 1:30 a.m.
"I was deeply touched. I was already so taken aback when I was called last night about the scooter accident. Then this happened," Paans said at the press conference about the shooting. "This is of unprecedented magnitude for Alblasserdam,” he stated. “It is indescribable what happened."
The driver of the car, a 24-year-old man from Papendrecht, was uninjured in the accident. He drove for a few hundred meters after the collision, then stopped and walked back to the accident site. He was taken into custody and was being questioned. He was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, police said.
Den Os also said he was stunned by the day’s events. "First there was a traffic accident in which two people died. Then the shooting at the care farm. Very bizarre, even for us as emergency workers," said Den Os.
Paans asked the media not to intrude on the village as much as possible, so that the community process has the chance to process what happened.
Reporting by ANP