1 Dead, 3 Hurt in Dutch Cafe Shooting Rampage

Saturday , April 11, 2009



ROTTERDAM, Netherlands — 

A man pulled a gun in a crowded Dutch cafe after an argument Saturday and shot a patron inside, then rushed outside where he shot three more people, one fatally, police said.

Panic erupted in the cafe when the first shot rang out, but several people chased the gunman when he ran outside, overpowered and disarmed him, and wrestled him to the ground until police arrived, said police spokesman Remco Spaninxs.

The man, a 44-year-old Rotterdam resident, had gotten into an argument in the bar earlier in the evening and was asked to leave, said Spaninxs. He returned later with a hand gun and began shooting.

One person was wounded inside and three people were hit on the street, one of whom died, Spaninxs said.

All the casualties were inside the Laurenshof Cafe when the shooting began shortly before 1 a.m., he said. It was unclear if the victims were among those who tried to grapple with the gunman.

Television footage shortly after the incident showed medics giving emergency treatment to the wounded and loading them into ambulances. The body of the victim lay under a white sheet inside a cordon of police tape. Spaninxs said people in the cafe were in shock, crying and holding each other.

The Laurenshof is a small but popular bar with live music near a shopping mall on Poolster Square in the east side of the port city of Rotterdam. A talent contest was under way at the time of the shooting. The music was loud and the atmosphere was good, Spaninxs said.

He said the motive for the shooting was under investigation, though it likely was related to the argument earlier in the evening.

Spaninxs said the suspect had no previous criminal record as far as he knew. Police withheld his identity in accordance with Dutch law.

Police said the fatality was a 46-year-old man from Rotterdam but gave no further details. The other victims suffered gunshot wounds in the lower body.