Utrecht tram shooting: Three dead and nine injured as police arrest suspect

Police released this image (left) of shooting suspect Gokmen Tanis, and told the public not to approach him. (PA)

Police have arrested the suspect in a shooting attack on a tram in the central Dutch city of Utrecht which has left three people dead and nine injured.

Officers identified Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis, 37, in connection with the incident.

He was arrested on Monday evening.

Authorities immediately raised the terror alert for the area to the maximum level and said they are considering the possibility of a “terrorist motive” in the attack.

Utrecht mayor Jan van Zanen confirmed the number of people killed and injured in the incident, saying the authorities were likely to “assume a terror motive”.

A man reportedly opened fire at passengers on a tram in the area of 24 Oktoberplein.

Emergency services at the scene of the shooting in Utrecht, the Netherlands (Picture: Getty)
Gokmen Tanis was identified as the main suspect in connection with the shooting in the Dutch city. (PA)

The Dutch justice minister has told The Associated Press that the suspect in the Utrecht tram attack had a criminal record.

Ferd Grapperhaus said it was too early to say whether the attack suspect had a terror motive but acknowledged he had a criminal history.

He warned against early speculation about motives and said “it is important that now the independent investigation will thoroughly go through” the evidence.

“Yes, the suspect was known within the justice department. He had a criminal record. That is indeed what we know. I can give no more details.”

Local networks said that the suspect had been charged several times over the past years, anything from attempted manslaughter to petty crime in and around Utrecht. The networks said that only two weeks ago he was in court on charges of raping of woman in 2017.

Utrecht shooting: Location

Officers said a Red Renault Clio had been hijacked shortly before the shooting and was later found further south in the city. They asked for anyone with information about the car to get in touch.

The shooting happened at about 10:45am local time. Three helicopters have been despatched to the scene.

The city’s entire tram network has been halted.

Police have reported “multiple injuries” as a result of the shooting in a residential area.

The Utrecht police Twitter account said: “A shooting occurred on the #24oktoberplein in #Utrecht.

Dutch counter terrorism police install a camera on a sniffer dog as they prepare to enter a house after a shooting incident in Utrecht, Netherlands (Picture: AP)
There are reports of multiple people injured (Picture: Getty)

“The incident has been reported at 10.45 hour. Multiple people have been injured. The surrounding area has been cordoned off and we are investigating the matter.”

Anti-terrorism police are at the scene and authorities have asked people to keep the roads clear so emergency workers can get through.

Police spokesman Joost Lanshage said: “Several shots were fired in a tram and several people were injured.”

Emergency services attend the scene of a shooting in Utrecht, Netherlands (Picture: AP)
A gunman opened fire on a tram in Utrecht, it has been reported (Picture: AP)

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said: “Our nation was hit by an attack in Utrecht. It is clear there were shots on tram passengers in Utrecht, that there are wounded.” He said that “a terror motive is not excluded”.

Mr Rutte said that throughout the nation “there is a mix of disbelief and disgust”.

He added: “If it is a terror attack then we have only one answer: our nation, democracy must be stronger that fanaticism and violence.”

British foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt has described the shooting as “hugely concerning news” and said the UK “stands with the people of the Netherlands”.

He tweeted: “Hugely concerning news of a gunman opening fire on a tram in Utrecht, no doubt with innocent people just getting on with their day.

“We are in contact with Dutch authorities, urgently seeking further information.

“The UK stands with the people of the Netherlands.”