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The Netherlands

King Willem-Alexander pays tribute to victims of shooting in Rotterdam

King Willem-Alexander

King Willem-Alexander has travelled to Rotterdam to pay homage to the victims of a shooting that happened last weekend. 

On 2nd October, His Majesty arrived in the city to remember the three people that fell victim to a gunman. 

Upon his arrival, the King was welcomed by members of the local community, who were reunited in a community centre opposite two of the victims’ house – the space has been opened to the public to function as a grief and counselling hotspot. 

The two victims were mother and daughter; their husband/father was among the ones that welcomed His Majesty, and he later told the press: “that the king took time for this was great”. 

King Willem-Alexander then moved on to the second shooting location, the Erasmus Medical Centre. One of the country’s biggest teaching hospital, the same gunman went in shortly after the shooting at the house and opened fire in the halls, killing a lecturer in the process. 

The King was seen talking to hospital staff, including doctors, nurses and students, before getting out of the centre and speaking to police officers and emergency first responders that were on call on the day of the shottings. 

Many people said the conversations were warm and emotional: “That made it very nice, because family members also heard what they went through. They were able to come together this way for the first time, which was extremely valuable. They described the conversation as pleasant, warm and involved. Everyone was very emotional”. 

Throughout the entire journey, King Willem-Alexander was accompanied by the Mayor of Rotterdam, who has been involved with the aftermath of this tragedy since the first few moments of it unfolding. 

On the afternoon of 28th September, a man opened fire on a house, instantly killing a 39-year-old woman and severely wounding her 14-years-old daughter, before setting the building alight. 

He then swiftly moved on to the Erasmus Medical Centre; slipping through a side entrance, the gunman entered the facility and once again opened fire, killing a 43-years-old man. 

It was there that police apprehended him, and he was seen being dragged out of the facility in handcuffs. Police officials later told the press that the man was already known to them, as he had received a conviction two years ago for animal cruelty, and that he seems to be suffering from psychological issues, which is why they were not pursuing  any other possible suspects. 

Later on that day, the 14-years-old girl passed away from her injuries. Immediately after the shooting, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima released a statement saying: “Our heart goes out to the family and friends of the victims of this afternoon’s acts of violence in Rotterdam. We empathize with you with this intense sadness and understand your upheaval. We also think of everyone who was in fear during and after these horrific actions. Many thanks to police and aid workers for their dedicated efforts”.

This tragedy shocked the nation, as it is extremely rare for shootings to occur; the police will now be investigating where the gunman might have acquired the weapon, as well as the dynamics of the incident.