Alphen aan den Rijn shopping mall shooting
|Alphen aan den Rijn shopping mall shooting|
The location of Alphen aan den Rijn in the Netherlands
|Location||Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands|
|Date||9 April 2011|
|Mass murder, massacre, murder–suicide|
|Deaths||7 (including the perpetrator)|
|Perpetrator||Tristan van der Vlis|
On 9 April 2011, six people were killed by a gunman who entered the Ridderhof mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands, a town approximately 33 kilometres (21 mi) south-west of Amsterdam. Using a rifle, 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis shot several people and then killed himself, reportedly with a different firearm. There were seven deaths, including the killer, and 17 wounded, making it the deadliest assault attack in the Netherlands since the 2009 attack on the Dutch Royal Family.
Van der Vlis, wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with a semi-automatic Smith & Wesson M&P15-22, a stainless steel Colt M1911 .45-caliber pistol, and a Taurus Raging Bull .44 Magnum revolver, first got out of his black Mercedes-Benz and shot a person outside, then entered the Ridderhof mall and fired more than 100 rounds, 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. Later that day one of the injured victims succumbed to injuries, raising the total number of deceased to seven. 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. Children were among the victims, but they had suffered only mild injuries. Among the dead were three males aged 80, 49 and 42, and three females aged 91, 68 and 45.
The shooter was 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis, who lived in an apartment complex in Alphen aan den Rijn with his parents. He had lived in Alphen since his childhood. According to the police, he was a member of a shooting association and possessed three firearms. He was reportedly obsessed with the computer games Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and Call of Duty: Black Ops (first-person shooters). 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. He tried to commit suicide at least twice in 2008.
The Netherlands Government Information Service, through a brief statement on Twitter, said Queen Beatrix was "speechless because of the great loss and sadness;" and politicians such as Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten expressed feelings of shock and tragedy.
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. «
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