Posts Tagged ‘shooting’

Gunman kills five people in California, then himself: police

September 13, 2018

A man went on a shooting rampage California on Wednesday, killing five people including his wife, before taking his own life, a police spokesman told AFP.

“We have six deceased, one is the suspect and five are victims,” said Lieutenant Mark King of the Kern County sheriff’s office after the shooting in the city of Bakersfield. “We believe it’s possibly a domestic violence incident.”

Police received their first call at 5:19 pm before responding to the first location, a trucking company.

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | Americans make up only four percent of the global population but they own 40 percent of the world’s firearms, according to a recent study published by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva

“When the deputies responded they located three victims of the shooting and the suspect had fled,” said King, adding that the man is believed to have shot two more victims at another location.

“At 5:54 pm the vehicle was located at a local business. The suspect noticed the deputy pulled into the business, and then shot himself,” said King.

“Our detectives have five separate scenes. We are interviewing over 30 witnesses,” continued King, adding that the man had used a large caliber handgun.

It was the latest chapter of America’s epidemic of gun violence.

Americans make up only four percent of the global population but they own 40 percent of the world’s firearms, according to a recent study published by the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

Of the 857 million guns owned by civilians, 393 million are in the United States — more than all of the firearms held by ordinary citizens in the other top 25 countries combined, according to the Small Arms Survey.


Police Identify Video Game Shooter in Jacksonville, Florida

August 27, 2018

Police have identified the mass shooter who terrorized a video game tournament in a shooting spree that was partially captured on a horrifying livestream.

David Katz, 24, killed himself and two others, and left 11 people injured in the shooting at the Jacksonville Landing complex in Jacksonville, Florida at around 1.34pm on Sunday, police said.

David Katz, 24, (above) killed himself and two others, and left 11 people injured

David Katz, 24, (above) killed himself and two others, and left 11 people injured

According to friends in the gaming community, the two men whom Katz killed in the tournament were Taylor ‘SpotMePlzzz’ Robertson, 27, of Ballard, West Virginia and Eli ‘Trueboy’ Clayton, 22, of Woodland Hills, California.

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Robertson was married and father to a young son, and had won 13 out of his 18 prior matches in Madden NFL tournaments, according to EA Sports. Clayton was a rising star in the Madden community.

Police have not yet confirmed the identities of the deceased victims. Local media, including the Miami Herald and ActionNewsJax, have named Robertson and Clayton as the deceased victims, after members of the Madden gaming community posted numerous online tributes.

An official close to the investigation said that the gunman killed himself with the semi-auto handgun used in the shooting, which had a laser sight.

A livestream of the tournament caught the chilling moment that a laser landed on Clayton’s chest before shots rang out.

Nine of the non-fatal injuries were gunshot wounds and two were sustained while fleeing the chaos, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said.

Florida Governor Rick Scott visited several of the injured on Sunday night, including Timothy ‘OLarry2k’ Anselimo, who was expected to recover after being shot in the chest and hand.

Williams said that Katz was from Baltimore and had traveled to Jacksonville for the Madden 19 video game tournament. His car was seized by police near the scene.

About 150 gamers competed in the competition for a $5,000 prize. The winner was set to go on to a finals tournament in Las Vegas with a $125,000 prize.

One of the gamers to defeat Katz in the tournament told ActionNewsJax that Katz was acting ‘weird’ on Sunday and wearing the same clothes he wore the day prior, one the first day of the tournament.

The gamer said that when he beat Katz on Saturday in the group round, he tried to shake his hand, but that Katz just stared back at him blankly.


Florida Governor Rick Scott (center) is seen visiting one of the wounded victims, Timothy Anselimo aka OLarry2k, in the hospital on Sunday as he recovers from being shot

Florida Governor Rick Scott (center) is seen visiting one of the wounded victims, Timothy Anselimo aka OLarry2k, in the hospital on Sunday as he recovers from being shot

Three killed in shooting at Jacksonville video game tournament

August 27, 2018

Ryen Aleman was engrossed in the virtual world, focused on the video game in front of him, when he realized the gunshots he was hearing were real. He ducked and bolted for a restroom to take cover.


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Another mass shooting was unfolding in Florida, this time at a tournament for competitive players of the football video game, Madden, in Jacksonville. The winners would go on to a higher level tournament in Las Vegas in October, where large cash prizes could be won.

Gov. Rick Scott of Florida visited the Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville, where victims were sent after a shooting that left three dead, including the gunman. Credit Saul Martinez for The New York Times

Participants had gathered at the Jacksonville Landing Complex, an open-air marketplace with stores, bars and restaurants along the St. Johns River.
David Katz, a 24-year-old gamer from Baltimore, Maryland, was in Jacksonville for the tournament at GLHF Game Bar, in the back of a pizza restaurant. On Sunday, he brought a gun into the venue and opened fire, killing two people. Then he turned the gun on himself, Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams said. Police have not released a possible motive.
Katz used at least one handgun in the shooting, the sheriff said. Nine other people suffered gunshot wounds and two people were injured fleeing the area, Williams said. The victims were all in stable condition at local hospitals, the sheriff said.
The horror that unfolded was captured on an online stream of the event, posted the website Twitch. The game abruptly stopped after several shots were heard.
People screamed. One person cried out, “Oh f**, what’d he shoot me with?”

The shooting came in the middle of a Madden video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., 911 calls started pouring in about a shooting, according to Williams. Officers were on the scene within two minutes.
Aleman said he huddled in the bathroom for 10 minutes and ran from the scene.
“I’m still shocked, I can hardly talk,” he told CNN.

Police responded to a shooting at the Jacksonville Landing on Sunday, August 26, 2018.

Firefighters to the rescue


Seven members of the Jacksonville Fire Station 1 — known as “The Rock” — were doing routine training in a parking garage across the street from the Landing, when dozens of people came running out, said Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Fire Fighters.
One person pulled up their shirt, showing where they had been shot in the chest, Wyse said. A second person with gunshot wounds followed shortly behind them.
As four firefighters administered first aid, three others ran toward the Landing, Wyse said, and flagged down a police officer.
They started treating victims and found the three dead bodies, including Katz’s body.
Hours after he committed suicide, authorities said, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and FBI and Baltimore Police searched Katz’s family home in Baltimore.

‘I’m one of the better players’

Katz went by the gaming naming “Bread” and previously won Madden tournaments in 2017, multiple gamers told CNN.
In February 2017, the Buffalo Bills tweeted out a picture of him after he won the Madden 17 Bills Championship. “Congrats to David Katz, the Madden 17 Bills Championship winner! Thanks for following along, Bills fans,” the tweet read.
In an interview after the win with former Buffalos Bills player Steve Tasker, Katz talked about his prowess.
“I think personally I’m one of the better players,” he said.

Suspect David Katz in 2017 when he won tournament.

Another mass shooting in Florida


Florida has seen several mass shootings in recent years: a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland earlier this year; five people were gunned down at the Fort Lauderdale airport last year; and 49 were shot dead at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in 2016.
“We have got to change,” Gov. Rick Scott told reporters Sunday night. “We’ve got to really stop and say to ourselves: there’s something wrong.”
“Why are young men willing to give up their life, or why don’t they value somebody else’s life?” he said. “We’ve got to figure this out.”
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a mass shooting, said the nation’s attention turns to Florida, again.
“The nation once again looks to Florida with grief and heavy hearts,” Giffords, who co-founded a gun violence prevention organization, said in a statement.
“The massacre in Jacksonville is a tragic reminder of the threats we face from gun violence, no matter who we are or where our day takes us,” said Giffords. “And it’s yet another devastating indictment of this country’s inability to keep our kids safe.”
EA Sports, a video game developer and publisher, condemned the shooting as “a senseless act of violence.”
CompLexity Gaming founder and CEO Jason Lake told CNN that the shooting may make the growing eSports industry reconsider security at events.
One of the company’s gamers, a 19-year-old who goes by Drini, was shot in the thumb but managed to escape and is going to be fine, Lake said.
“To have someone walk into an event like this that’s all about good sportsmanship and teamwork and just good vibes, and do something like this, it’s heartbreaking,” he said. “I think the e-sports industry as a whole is going to have to step back and take a look at further strengthening our security.”

Four People, Including a 5-Year-Old Boy, Are Shot and Killed in Queens, New York

July 31, 2018

Four people, among them a 5-year-old boy, were shot and killed at a small apartment building in Queens on Monday night in what investigators believe may have been a murder-suicide, the police said.

The shooting drew a herd of police cars and ambulances to a tree-lined residential block in Astoria and sent detectives scrambling to learn if a suspect was on the loose.

The police at an apartment building in Queens where four people, including a child, were fatally shot on Monday night. The authorities were investigating the killings as a murder-suicide. Credit Uli Seit for The New York Times

The police were called to the apartment building, at 23-07 30th Drive, around 9 p.m. after a man was found in the backyard with a gunshot wound and his throat slashed, the police said.

He was pronounced dead, as were two women and the 5-year-old who had been found shot in the building, the police said.

Investigators found a gun at the scene and a glass sliding door shattered, and soon heavily armed officers swarmed the four-story brick building and searched behind it. A police helicopter shined a spotlight from overhead.

The police did not immediately name those who had been killed or offer any details about a motive, but they said late Monday that they had tentatively identified one victim. The police also said they were still trying to determine whether the dead were members of the same family.

Investigators were leaning toward the theory that it was a murder-suicide, but by late Monday night were still working to rule out other possibilities, a police official said.

The shooting upended a quiet night on a block that is hidden between two bustling avenues. None of the buildings on the block are taller than five stories, but most are three, and several of them get decked out for holidays from St. Patrick’s Day to Christmas.

Neighbors said they had no idea anything was amiss until police cars and ambulances screeched onto their corner. Several people said they saw a police officer walking away from the scene sobbing.



Chicago Gun Crime Shooting-Deaths — Toll Marches Ahead, But Still Lower than Last Year

July 30, 2018

A man was shot to death early Saturday on the Dan Ryan Expressway on the South Side, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

Authorities were called about 12:15 a.m. to the inbound lanes of the inbound Dan Ryan at 25th Street and found 33-year-old Shaquille Dirkens in a vehicle on the shoulder of the road, the fire department and the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said.

Dirkens was pronounced dead at the scene, and an autopsy Saturday found he died of a gunshot wound to the neck, the medical examiner’s office said.

State police located two other occupants of the vehicle away from the scene on the expressway. One person was found injured at Connie’s Pizza at 2373 S. Archer Avenue. They were taken to Stroger Hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening and not related to the shooting, according to Illinois State Police.

Another occupant of the vehicle was found uninjured near the expressway and 31st Street, state police said. The person’s involvement in the shooting was not known.

Illinois State Police were investigating.

In Chicago, 288 people have been killed this year. That is 108 fewer than 2017.

Data through Sunday, July 22

Gunman dead after shooting 14, killing one, in Toronto

July 23, 2018

Fourteen people, including a young girl, were shot near downtown Toronto, police in Canada’s biggest city said on Sunday, with one person killed and the gunman also dead.

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July 22: Plainclothes police officers work the scene of shooting in Toronto.  (The Canadian Press via AP)

The young girl was in a critical condition, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said.

“We are looking at all possible motives… and not closing any doors,” Saunders told reporters at the site of the shooting.

Paramedics, firefighters and police converged on the shooting in Toronto’s east end, which has many popular restaurants, cafes and shops.

Police said the gunman had used a handgun. Earlier reports said nine people had been shot.

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Police are seen near Danforth Avenue, which was the scene of a mass shooting in Toronto. Photograph: Chris Helgren/Reuters

Reports of gunfire in the city’s Greektown neighborhood began at 10 p.m. local time (0200 GMT Monday), said.

Witnesses said they heard 25 gunshots, the news website reported.

Toronto is grappling with a sharp rise in gun violence this year. Deaths from gun violence in the city jumped 53 percent to 26 so far in 2018 from the same period last year, police data last week showed, with the number of shootings rising 13 percent.

Toronto deployed about 200 police officers from July 20 in response to the recent spate in shootings, which city officials have blamed on gang violence.

Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters that the city has a gun problem and guns were too readily available to too many people.

Reporting by Denny Thomas and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Paul Tait


Suspect in Maryland newsroom killings charged with murder

June 29, 2018

A Maryland man was charged with multiple counts of murder on Friday, a day after police say he rampaged through a newsroom in Annapolis with a shotgun and killed five people in one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history.

Police identified the suspect as Jarrod Ramos, 38, from Laurel, about 25 miles (40 km) west of Annapolis. He faces five counts of first degree murder in Anne Arundel County criminal court where a bail hearing was expected at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT) on Friday, The Capital Gazette newspaper group reported.

Ramos had a longstanding grudge against the newspaper and unsuccessfully sued it for defamation in 2012 over an article that reported how he harassed a former high school classmate, court records showed.

He is accused of entering the Capital Gazette office on Thursday afternoon and opening fire through a glass door, hunting for victims and spraying the newsroom with gunfire as reporters hid under their desks and begged for help on social media, police and witnesses said.

© Mandel Ngan, AFP | The journalists at the Capital Gazette published their newspaper on June 29, 2018, a day after a shooting at their offices.

Rob Hiaasen, 59, Wendi Winters, 65, Rebecca Smith, 34, Gerald Fischman, 61, and John McNamara were shot and killed. All were journalists except for Smith who was a sales assistant, police said.

The Capital newspaper, part of the Gazette group, published an edition on Friday with photographs of each of the victims and a headline “5 shot dead at The Capital” on its front page.

The newspaper’s editors left the editorial page blank with a note saying that they were speechless.

Photographs that were widely shared on social media showed newspaper staffers working on laptops in a parking garage to produce Friday’s edition while they waited to learn the fate of colleagues after the shooting.

‘Like a war zone’

Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley said he was so proud of the journalists who had “soldiered on.”

“These guys, they don’t make a lot of money. They do journalism because they love what they do. And they got a newspaper out today,” Buckley told Fox News.

Ramos brought a defamation lawsuit in 2012 against Eric Hartley, a former staff writer and columnist with Capital Gazette, and Thomas Marquardt, then its editor and publisher, a court filing showed.

Neither Hartley nor Marquardt is still employed by the paper or were at its office on Thursday.

An article by Hartley had contended that Ramos had harassed a woman on Facebook and that he had pleaded guilty to criminal harassment, according to a legal document.

The court agreed the article was accurate and based on public records, the document showed. In 2015 Maryland’s second-highest court upheld the ruling, rejecting Ramos’s suit.

Ramos tweeted at the time that he had set up a Twitter account to defend himself, and wrote in his biographical notes that he was suing people in Anne Arundel County and “making corpses of corrupt careers and corporate entities.”

According to a WBAL-TV reporter who said she spoke with the woman who was harassed, Ramos became “fixated” with her for no apparent reason, causing her to move three times, change her name, and sleep with a gun.

Phil Davis, a Capital Gazette crime reporter, recounted how he was hiding under his desk along with other newspaper employees when the shooter stopped firing, the Capital Gazette reported on its website.

The newsroom looked “like a war zone,” he told the Baltimore Sun. “I don’t know why he stopped.”

“As much as I’m going to try to articulate how traumatizing it is to be hiding under your desk, you don’t know until you’re there and you feel helpless,” Davis said.

Authorities responded to the scene within a minute of the shooting, and Ramos was arrested while also hiding under a desk with the shotgun on the floor nearby, police said.

After the shooting, police in Baltimore and New York City deployed extra officers outside major media outlets as a precaution.

Capital Gazette runs several newspapers out of its Annapolis office. They include one of the oldest newspapers in the United States, The Gazette, which traces its origins back to 1727.

The newspapers published by the company, part of the Tronc Inc media group, have focused on local news in the shadows of two much larger competitors, the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun.



Suspect in newsroom shooting ID’d with facial recognition technology

June 29, 2018

The man who blasted his way into the offices of a Maryland newspaper Thursday, killing five people, was identified by cops using sophisticated facial recognition technology.

Law enforcement sources told the Post that the gunman carried no identification when he went on his rampage in the Capital-Gazette’s newsroom, which also injured three people.

However, authorities cracked the case using sophisticated facial recognition technology less than six hours after the first shots were fired, law enforcement sources told NBC News and CNN.

His identity has not been publicly released.

Police found the gunman — described as a white male in his 30s — under a desk in of the newspaper’s newsroom and arrested him without firing a shot, said Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh.

Authorities said at a Thursday afternoon press conference the shooter was found with an “explosive device” in a bag, but offered few other details other than to say it “was taken care of.”

A law enforcement source told CBS News there were either flash-bang or smoke grenades in the bag, but Schuh said the shooter appeared to have carried “inflammable liquids” in some sort of package.

The shooting at the Capital-Gazette, Annapolis’s main newspaper, is one of the deadliest mass shootings of journalists in recent years.

Terrorists killed twelve when they attacked the offices of a satirical French magazine, Charlie Hebdo, in 2015.

Officials also shot down earlier reports that he had filed off his fingerprints.

With Post Wires


Five dead in shooting at Maryland newspaper office

June 29, 2018

White man armed with a shotgun said to have made ‘targeted attack’

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Police respond to a shooting at the offices of the Capital Gazette, a daily newspaper, in  © AFP

Five people were killed and two injured at a newspaper office in Annapolis, Maryland, on Thursday afternoon, in a “targeted attack” by a lone gunman armed with a shotgun, police said.

The white male “looked for his victims as he walked through the lower level”, said William Krampf, acting chief of the Anne Arundel County police department.

The man, said to be in his late 30s, was in custody after the shooting at the Capital Gazette, a local newspaper, and was being questioned, police said.

Phil Davis, a crime reporter at the Gazette, said on Twitter that the gunman had shot through the glass door of the newspaper’s office and had opened fire on several employees.

“There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” he said in a tweet.

According to the Baltimore Sun, which owns the newspaper group, journalists dived under their desks and pleaded for help on social media.

The Baltimore Sun said the victims were identified as Rob Hiaasen, 59, an assistant editor; Wendi Winters, 65, a community correspondent who headed special publications; Gerald Fischman, 61, the editorial page editor; John McNamara, 56, a staff writer; and Rebecca Smith, 34, a sales assistant.

The gunman had a long-running feud with the newspaper, according to Reuters.

“We know there were threats sent to the Capital Gazette through social media,” said Mr Krampf, but he did not know who made them.

The attacker’s Maryland residence was being searched.

Mr Krampf said earlier that officers recovered “what we thought may have been an explosive device” from the building. “We don’t anticipate having any more explosive devices,” he said.

If [police] were not there as quickly as they were it could have been a lot worse

Police said officers were on the scene within 60 seconds and apprehended the suspect without firing a shot.

“If they were not there as quickly as they were it could have been a lot worse,” said Gavin Buckley, the mayor of Annapolis, which is located about 30 miles to the east of Washington DC.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, seven journalists have been killed in the US since 1992 in cases where the motive had been confirmed. None of those deaths were in mass shootings.

The New York Police Department said it was deploying counter-terrorism teams to media organisations “out of an abundance of caution”.

John Sarbanes, the Democrat representative for the congressional district that includes Annapolis, said: “This is a small-town newspaper, this is a close-knit community, so in a sense the newspaper represents the community.”

He added: “These are reporters who write feature stories and human interest stories all the time . . . people know them, they feel close to the newspaper. It’s a very tight-knit community. So there’s going to be shockwaves going out from this.”

President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene.”

Larry Hogan, the Maryland governor, said: “Our hearts go out to the victims and their families.”

The Gazette is one of the oldest newspaper publishers in the US, tracing its history back to 1727, when a British journalist set up the Maryland Gazette. According to the paper’s website, it opposed the Stamp Act of 1765, one of the taxation grievances that triggered the American Revolution.

Its reporters cover local beats, and the paper’s national coverage comes from wire services.

Belgium: Shooting, stabbing in Liege leaves two police officers and a passer-by dead — Gunman shouted “Allahu Akbar”

May 29, 2018

A stabbing and shooting attack in the eastern Belgian city has left two police officers and a passer-by dead. Authorities have launched a terror investigation but the terror alert level remains unchanged.

A bomb squad arrives at the scene following a shooting in Liege, Belgium on Tuesday. Photo by Michel Tonneau/EPA-EFE

A gunman stabbed and shot dead two police officers before killing a bystander in the eastern city of Liege on Tuesday, Belgian media reported.

The country has been on alert since suicide bombers killed 32 people at Brussels airport and in the subway system in 2016.

Read more: Refugee child dies in Belgium after police chase

What we know so far

  • The attack happened at around 10.30 a.m. local time (08.30 UTC) near a cafe in the Boulevard d’Avroy, located in the administrative district of the city.
  • The attacker, who was armed with a knife, approached the two officers from behind and stabbed them several times, before seizing their weapons and shooting them dead, prosecutors said.
  • He then shot dead a 22-year-old man in a vehicle parked nearby.
  • La Libre Belgique newspaper quoted a police source as saying the gunman shouted Allahu Akbar — God is greatest in Arabic.
  • The shooter then fled to a nearby school where he took a woman hostage.
  • Broadcaster RTBF said the gunman was later shot dead by police.
  • At least two officers were injured in the subsequent shoot-out.
  • The Belga news agency reported that the children from the school were quickly moved to a safe area.

Police and ambulance are seen at the site where a gunman shot dead three people, two of them policemen, before being killed by elite officers, in the eastern Belgian city of Liege on May 29, 2018. (Photo by JOHN THYS/AFP/Getty Images)

Terror probe opened

Terrorism investigators took over the case within two hours of the shooting.

“There are elements that point in the direction that this is a terrorist act,” said Eric Van Der Sypt, spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutors office.

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said on Twitter: “Our thoughts are with the victims of this horrible act. We are in the process of establishing an overview of exactly what happened.”

Terror nerves: Belgium remains on edge following several years of extremist Islamist activity, most notably the March 2016 suicide bombings on Brussels airport and a metro station which killed 32 people.

Read more: Belgium charges suspect over 2016 Brussels attacks

Extremist cells, previous shooting

In January 2015, police smashed a terror cell in the town of Verviers that was planning an attack on police. The cell had links to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the mastermind of the November 2015 Paris attacks.

Liege itself was the scene of a shooting in 2011, when a gunman killed four people and wounded more than 100 others before turning the gun on himself.

mm/rt (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)


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In this grab taking from video Tuesday, May 29, 2018, people run in the street after hearing gun shots, in Liege, Belgium. A gunman killed three people, including two police officers, in the Belgian city of Liege on Tuesday, a city official said. Police later killed the attacker, and other officers were wounded in the shooting. (Victor Jay via AP)

BBC News

What happened?

The shooting unfolded late morning on Tuesday near a cafe in the city centre.

Prosecutors said the man followed and attacked police with a knife, before taking a gun from them and opening fire.

He also shot dead a man who was sitting in the passenger seat of a passing car.

The gunman then fled to a nearby school and briefly took a hostage.

A map showing the site of a shooting in Belgium

Footage on social media showed people running to safety as several gunshots rang out. Children at the school were moved to safety.

Belgium’s Prime Minister Charles Michel said he was following the situation closely and expressed his support for those caught up in the shooting.

What’s the wider situation?

Belgium remains on alert after a series of jihadist attacks in the country and in neighbouring France.

A Brussels-based cell was involved in the 2015 Paris attacks which left 130 people dead in several locations.

Brussels itself saw three suicide bombings in March 2016, with 32 people killed. Both the Paris and Brussels attacks were claimed by the Islamic State-group.

Later in 2016 a man attacked two police officers with machetes while shouting “Allahu Akbar” before being shot dead.



Gunman kills three before being shot dead: Belgian police

LIEGE, Belgium (Reuters) – A man killed two policewomen and a woman passer-by in the Belgian city of Liege on Tuesday, public broadcaster RTBF said, before being shot dead in an exchange of fire that sent people scattering and scurrying to take cover.

The city authorities confirmed the death toll.

The national crisis center, on high alert since past attacks by Islamic State in Paris and Brussels, said it was looking into whether terrorism might have been a motive for Tuesday’s attack in Belgium’s third city.

RTBF named the alleged assailant as a 36-year-old Belgian who had been released on parole from a prison near Liege, close to the German and Dutch borders, on Monday.

He was serving time for drug offences and classified as “unstable”, according to RTBF. It remained unclear how the incident, during which pupils at a nearby high school were moved to a place of safety, had unfolded.

“The children in the local schools are safe,” Liege city authorities said on Twitter, adding that apart from the two police officers the passenger in a car had been killed.

RTBF said the man may have attacked the police officers with a box-cutter and then seized one of their weapons.

La Libre Belgique newspaper quoted a police source as saying the gunman shouted “Allahu Akbar” — God is greatest in Arabic — and RTBF said investigators were looking into whether he might have been converted to Islam and radicalized in prison.

“(Terrorism) is one of the questions on the table, but for the moment all scenarios are open,” a spokesman for the crisis center told Reuters.

Federal prosecutors took over the investigation, a further indication that a terrorist motive was possible.

Prime Minister Charles Michel, expressing his condolences to the families of the victims, said it was too early to say what had caused the incident.

RTBF said the attacker had a history of minor criminal convictions but was not on a list of possible violent extremists.

Two other police officers had been injured, a spokeswoman for the Liege public prosecutors office said.

Slideshow (18 Images)

Images on social media showed people scurrying for safety on Liege’s central boulevard d’Avroy with shots and sirens being heard in the background.

Liege, the biggest city in Belgium’s French-speaking Wallonia region, was the scene of a mass shooting in 2011, when a gunman killed four people and wounded more than 100 others before turning the gun on himself.

Belgium has been on high alert since a Brussels-based Islamic State cell was involved in attacks on Paris in 2015 that killed 130 people and Brussels in 2016 in which 32 died.

The Brussels IS cell had links to militants in Verviers, another industrial town close to Liege, where in early 2015 police raided a safe house and killed two men who had returned from fighting with radical Islamists in Syria.

Reporting by Robert-Jan Bartunek, Alissa de Carbonnel and Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Alastair Macdonald and Richard Balmforth