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Rotterdam: 2 dead after twin shootings by same suspect

The university hospital in Rotterdam is one of the city's main healthcare facilities, located on the campus in the south of the city center

The university hospital in Rotterdam is one of the city's main healthcare facilities, located on the campus in the south of the city center

Police in Rotterdam said on Thursday that two people had been killed in two shooting incidents in the city, one of which at the Erasmus Medical Center at the city's university.

"The two shooting incidents in Rotterdam have resulted in fatalities. We will first inform family and relatives and will explain more later," the city police said in an initial statement on social media.

Elite police units had stormed the facility.

What do we know about the victims and suspect?

In a later press conference, police said that the suspect was thought to have first killed a 39-year-old woman at a residential address, caused a fire to start, and then to have moved on to a classroom at the medical center, killing a 46-year-old lecturer at the facility.

A 14-year-old girl, the daughter of the dead woman, was also injured in the residential attack.

Rotterdam Police Chief Fred Westerbeke said that the 32-year-old in custody was believed to have carried out both shootings and to have acted alone.

They had arrested the man, a Rotterdam resident and a student at the university, under the hospital's helipad.

His possible motive was not yet clear, police said. He was armed with a handgun and wearing a bulletproof vest.

Several homes were damaged as part of the first stage of his attack, police said, one of which was the suspect's own address. They described the attacks as targeted.

The suspected shooter had a prior criminal record, for animal abuse in 2021.

Fires at both sites, medical center open to visitors again

The fire department said it was investigating potential arson cases after fires at both the home and the university. Police said it was too early to comment during the press conference about media reports that the man had used Molotov cocktails or similar incendiary devices.

Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb said there was "great emotion" in the city after many people had witnessed the "horrible incident."

"We will make sure we provide care for people who need it," he said.

The Erasmus Medical Center at one point appealed on social media for people not to go to the site and to head for another medical facility instead. But by the middle of Thursday evening, the all-clear was given again and visitors were told they were welcome once more.

Rotterdam is home to the busiest port in all of Europe and is the second most populous city in the Netherlands after Amsterdam, home to more than half a million people. In recent years its struggles with gang violence and with frequent imports of contraband bound either for the Netherlands or other locations in Europe have been well documented.

msh/jcg (AFP, dpa, Reuters)