Suspect arrested in Erasmus hospital shooting and fires; At least one dead
Police confirmed the arrest of its only suspect in two shootings and several fires at or near the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam on Thursday afternoon. The suspect was identified as a 32-year-old man from Rotterdam. At least one person died in the violence, but police would not immediately identify who was killed, or how many people were dead. Earlier, it was clear that at least three people were injured in Thursday's violence.
"The two shooting incidents in Rotterdam resulted in fatalities," police said in a statement released at 5:30 p.m. "We will now first inform family and relatives." Police told NL Times that they were still collecting information at the chaotic crime scenes.
The suspect was arrested before 4:30 p.m. He was taken into custody below the Erasmus Medical Center's helipad. The gunman was believed to have moved through the complex, including the Sophia Children's Hospital. It was not immediately clear if any of the victims were patients or staff at the medical complex.
The Rotterdam man's role in the shootings and fires was under investigation at the time he was apprehended. Police later clarified, "We are not assuming there was a second shooter." Police earlier described the suspect as being tall, with dark hair, dressed in "combat clothing," and armed with a handgun. At one point, they said he may have fled on a motorcycle, but later stated he was possibly in the hospital.
At least two shootings took place, and at least two fires were reported in connection with the incidents. The first happened in a home on the Heiman Dullaertplein, with records showing that authorities first responding to the scene just after 2:10 p.m. Gunshots were also fired at that location.
One woman and her three children live in the home, neighbors told local media outlets. Two of the children were home at the time of the shooting. Photos from the scene showed paramedics treating at least one person behind a privacy shield. The fire quickly spread, and was scaled up to a Grip 1 regional emergency. The protocol calls for all emergency services personnel to unite under a single commander.
The shooting and fire left one person dead and one person injured, according to an unconfirmed report from broadcaster Rijnmond.
Then, at 2:21 p.m., police received a report of shots fired from a classroom near the Rochussenstraat side of the Erasmus Medical Center, approximately 1.5 kilometers from the first crime scene. At least one fire was also believed to have been set inside the hospital. From there, the suspect also progressed through the Sophia Children's Hospital.
The incidents at the hospital left at least one person injured. Several hours later, police would not confirm to NL Times whether others were hurt, or killed.
The city of Rotterdam scheduled a press conference for 6:45 p.m. Police told NL Times that more details about the case would be revealed at that time. Aside from a representative from the police, a representative from the Public Prosecution Service was scheduled to attend, as well as Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb.