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Dutch police arrest suspect in tram shooting that killed three

Dutch police have arrested the man suspected of killing three people and wounding five others in a shooting on a tram in the central city of Utrecht on Monday.

The Hague, 18 March 2019 (MIA/dpa) – Dutch police have arrested the man suspected of killing three people and wounding five others in a shooting on a tram in the central city of Utrecht on Monday.

It took hours to find the main suspect, identified by police as 37-year-old Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis.

Police chief Rob van Bree, speaking alongside the mayor of Utrecht at a news conference, did not comment on what may have motivated the alleged shooter.

The Dutch Interior Ministry said earlier that law enforcement was trying to determine whether there was a terrorist background to the attack or whether there was some other personal motivation.

Broadcaster NOS reported that the suspect has a long rap sheet. Among other crimes, he was convicted of attempted murder. Currently he is a defendant in a rape trial.

Turkish news agency Anadolu reported, citing unnamed relatives of Tanis, that he shot at a woman on the tram because of a family issue.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it condemned the attack in Utrecht, “regardless of who the perpetrator is and what the motive was.”

It added that Turkey expressed its solidarity with the Dutch people and government.

Police released few details of their hunt to find Tanis, including where and how he was apprehended. The Dutch broadcaster NOS said he was taken into custody in Utrecht.

The police said a second suspect was also arrested in connection with the crime, but it was unclear to what extent this individual had been involved.

Mayor Jan van Zanen said three of the five people wounded were in critical condition. “Today is a black day for our city,” he said.

Shots were fired in the tram on 24 Oktoberplein, a junction in the west of the city, at 10:45 am (0945 GMT).

A witness told NOS that the gunman seemed to have targeted one woman in particular. The woman had been on the ground, and people were assisting her, said Daan Molenaar.

Molenaar said that he saw an armed man running towards the group. “It looked as if he wanted to attack her again, or maybe the people who helped her,” he said.

Local authorities lifted a curfew after several hours. They had warned residents not to venture outside after the shooting.

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