Alphen aan den Rijn shopping mall shooting

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Alphen aan den Rijn shopping mall shooting
Map - NL - Municipality code 0484 (2009).svg
The location of Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands
Location Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands[1]
Coordinates 52°08′42″N 4°40′28″E / 52.144991°N 4.674446°E / 52.144991; 4.674446
Date 9 April 2011[1]
Target Ridderhof Mall
Attack type
Mass murder, massacre, murder–suicide
Weapons
Deaths 7 (including the perpetrator)[4][5]
Non-fatal injuries
17[6]
Perpetrator Tristan van der Vlis[7]

On 9 April 2011, six people were killed by a gunman who entered the Ridderhof mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands,[8] a town approximately 33 kilometres (21 mi) south-west of Amsterdam.[9] Using a rifle, 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis shot several people and then killed himself, reportedly with a different firearm.[10] There were seven deaths, including the killer, and 17 wounded,[7] making it the deadliest assault attack in the Netherlands since the 2009 attack on the Dutch Royal Family.[11]

Shooting[edit]

Van der Vlis, wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with a semi-automatic Smith & Wesson M&P15-22, a stainless steel Colt .45-caliber pistol and a Taurus .44 Magnum revolver,[2] first got out of his black Mercedes-Benz and shot a person outside, then entered the Ridderhof mall and fired more than 100 rounds,[12] killing six people and injuring another 17 before he took a pistol, and took his own life. Many shoppers in the centre panicked before it was evacuated and cordoned off.[1] Later that day one of the injured victims succumbed to injuries, raising the total number of deceased to seven.[13] The gunman had left a note in his car stating that explosives had been left in three malls in the city; these malls were subsequently evacuated.[14] Children were among the victims, but they had suffered only mild injuries.[15] Among the dead were three males aged 80, 49 and 42, and three females aged 91, 68 and 45.[15]

Perpetrator[edit]

Tristan van der Vlis

The shooter was 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis, who lived in an apartment complex in Alphen aan den Rijn with his parents.[16] He had lived in Alphen since his childhood.[17] According to the police, he was a member of a shooting association and possessed three firearms.[18] He had a history of psychological and psychiatric problems, including paranoid schizophrenia; in 2006 he spent 10 days in a closed institution after attempting suicide.[19] He tried to commit suicide at least twice in 2008.

Response[edit]

Prime Minister Rutte gives a speech at the remembrance ceremony on 10 April 2011
PM Mark Rutte at the Ridderhof memorial on 20 April 2011

The Netherlands Government Information Service, through a brief statement on Twitter, said Queen Beatrix was "speechless because of the great loss and sadness;"[20] and politicians such as Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten expressed feelings of shock and tragedy.[1][10]

Several thousand people attended a memorial service at the mall on 10 April. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Minister Opstelten and acting Mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn Bas Eenhoorn were also present.[21]

Copycat threats[edit]

Shortly after the shooting, police arrested a 17-year-old boy who threatened to carry out another mass shooting. The teenager from Rotterdam posted on Twitter:

» Haha Iraq is also coming to the Netherlands. This man in Alphen already has 6 kills on his name. I'm going to outdo him. «

After a backlash, the boy deleted the post and claimed it was a joke.[22] Since then, four other people were arrested for making similar threats on Twitter.[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Six People Killed In Netherlands Shooting". Sky News Online. 9 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  2. ^ a b (Dutch) Geen volautomatisch wapen in Alphen, RTL Nieuws (13 April 2011)
  3. ^ De wapens van Tristan van der Vlis , De Telegraaf (14 April 2011)
  4. ^ "Dodental Alphen blijft op zeven". nu.nl (in Dutch). 11 April 2011. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Bloedbad in winkelcentrum Alphen". RTL Nieuws (in Dutch). 9 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  6. ^ Nine Injured in Shootout Still in Hospital, NIS News (12 April 2011)
  7. ^ a b "Schietpartij Alphen eist zevende leven". NOS nieuws (in Dutch). 9 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  8. ^ "Netherlands shooting 'kills six'". BBC News. 9 April 2011. Archived from the original on 10 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  9. ^ "Seven killed in Dutch shooting". Press Association. 9 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  10. ^ a b "Schietpartij Alphen a/d Rijn, een overzicht". NOS nieuws (in Dutch). 9 April 2011. Archived from the original on 11 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  11. ^ Sekularac, Ivana (10 April 2011). "Dutch town in shock after shooting rampage". Reuters. 
  12. ^ "Dutch mall shooter fired more than 100 times", Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11 April 2011[dead link]
  13. ^ "Schietpartij Ridderhof". Municipality Alphen aan den Rijn (in Dutch). 9 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  14. ^ "Dader liet briefje achter; 3 winkelcentra ontruimd". Algemeen Dagblad (in Dutch). 9 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  15. ^ a b "Geen minderjarigen onder doden Alphen". NOS nieuws (in Dutch). 10 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  16. ^ "Bezoek burgemeester Bas Eenhoorn aan ouders van Tristan". alphenaandenrijn.nl (in Dutch). 14 April 2011. Retrieved 17 April 2011. 
  17. ^ "Schutter Alphen is 24-jarige Tristan van der Vlis". Alphen.cc (in Dutch). 9 April 2011. 
  18. ^ "Moeder vond afscheidsbrief in flat". NOS (in Dutch). 9 April 2011. Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  19. ^ "Schutter was al eerder suïcidaal". NOS nieuws (in Dutch). 10 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  20. ^ "Dutch Royal family tweet". Retrieved 9 April 2011. 
  21. ^ "Herdenking slachtoffers Alphen a/d Rijn". NOS nieuws (in Dutch). 10 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011. 
  22. ^ BNO News (10 April 2011). "Dutch police arrest teen for threatening mass shooting on Twitter". wireupdate.com. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 
  23. ^ "Vijf twitteraars opgepakt na schietpartij Alphen" (in Dutch). Elsevier. 11 April 2011. Retrieved 12 April 2011.