Flowers and sadness at Rotterdam home of mother & daughter killed in shootings
There was a sad atmosphere at the home on Heiman Dullaertplein in Rotterdam where a mother and her 14-year-old daughter were shot dead. They were two of the three people killed in a series of related violent crimes on Thursday that ended with the arrest of 32-year-old medical student Fouad L., who was captured below the helipad at the Erasmus Medical Center less than two kilometers away from Heiman Dullaertplein.
Several people placed floral bouquets against the black privacy screens that surrounded the home of the 39-year-old woman and her teenaged daughter, and several other homes on the block in the Rotterdam district of Delfshaven, according to a reporter at the scene. Police were speaking with several local residents who stood at the square. Many people were crying at the location, and some people stood hugging each other.
Neighbors said earlier that the adult woman who was killed, Marlous, lived at the home with her three daughters. “We both coincidentally moved from Bergen op Zoom to Rotterdam, and our children are friends,” one friend told AD.
Others at the scene had said they saw a girl cautiously walked up to the crime scene with the help of friends just after the 2:10 p.m. shooting. The suspect allegedly set fire to the home, which took two hours to bring under control.
The girl collapsed and started sobbing when she saw which house was involved. “That is one of the victim’s daughters,” a local resident told AD. The victims were "her twin sister and mother.”
Victim support services for the community were arranged to take place at the adjacent Harbor Bilingual primary school on Coolhavenstraat, the location manager told the reporter. The help is mainly intended for teachers who were confronted with the shooting and fire on Thursday, but the incidents will also be discussed with the students in the classrooms.
A bunch of sunflowers were also present in the main hall of the Erasmus Medical Center. They were placed in memory of the Erasmus teacher and local physician, Jurgen Damen, who was killed in the second shooting, allegedly by the same suspect. More flowers were placed outside the entrance on Rochussenstraat, close to the classroom where the shooting took place.
In the hospital hall, there was a note hanging near a bucket of water. "Dear visitor, you can leave your flowers here in commemoration of the shooting incident of 28-09-2023." A spokesperson for the hospital expects that a larger memorial site will be established later on Friday, possibly including a condolence registry.
More flowers set up in memorial at the Erasmus Medical Center, with additional support services
"If the hospital does not organize this, it will happen naturally," he predicted. The municipality of Rotterdam is also considering a condolence point in City Hall.
All classes and trainings at the Erasmus Medical Center were cancelled on Friday. Exams scheduled on the Woudestein campus will continue, the hospital and Erasmus University Rotterdam said. They said they would be understanding for students "who are currently unable to take part due to this incident."
The hospital said in a statement on Thursday evening that the violence has had a major impact "on our employees, visitors and patients. Not only the shooting itself, but also the events that followed." After the shooting, the suspect allegedly set several fires in the hospital while authorities rushed to evacuate parts of the building. Several people were either trapped or went into hiding in the hospital before the suspect was apprehended.
"We were extremely shocked by the raid by the arrest teams, the fire in the Education Center and the evacuation of the various buildings." The Rotterdam called it "a shocking incident."
Still, medical care at the teaching hospital resumed on Friday morning, with all appointments at the outpatient clinics continuing as planned. Few patients cancelled as the result of Thursday's events.
Victim support services and psychosocial care will be available on Friday for hospital employees who need it. There will be a separate meeting for the medical students on Friday, who will also have access to care and an opportunity to discuss the events. Those who wish to receive help from a psychologist or the student leaders on Friday were invited to the Living Room in the Langeveld Building, which will be open to students, staff, and others from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
More victim support services available
"Due to the situation, there are several people who saw something or were in the vicinity of the shooting incidents. But this was also a threatening situation for people who were locked up in the Erasmus MC or had to evacuate in a hurry," a spokesperson for victim support service provider Slachtofferhulp Nederland said. "These people, who were not direct witnesses, may indeed be affected by what happened."
He noted the large number of people who have to return to work as normal on Friday. "Someone said, 'My legs are shaking.' That is really a very normal reaction to an abnormal event."
More generally, there was an increased demand from people requesting victims support after the shootings and arsons in Rotterdam on Thursday. Slachtofferhulp Nederland was organizing several group meetings, the spokesperson said on Friday. Shortly after the incidents, several groups also met to talk about the events.
Slachtofferhulp Nederland was organizing the group meetings together with neighborhood teams, public health organization GGD, the Erasmus Medical Center and the city of Rotterdam. One group was organized on Thursday for people living near Heiman Dullaertplein, another for hospital staff and a third for a mix between local residents and eyewitnesses. These types of meetings will again happen at various locations on Friday, including at the 14-year-old victim's school
The spokesperson said that the biggest stress response people have in reaction to the violence and chaos will disappear in the coming weeks. "People who continue to experience problems will receive further help and can be referred," he said.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times