The terrorist threat level in Utrecht has been lowered after the Dutch security forces detained the main suspect in the tram mass shooting incident which left three people dead and five injured.
“The suspect has been arrested. The suspect is now in custody,” Police spokesman Rob van Bree told reporters on Monday evening after a massive security operation managed to track down the tram shooter, identified by police earlier as 37-year-old Gökmen Tanis.
Verdachte recht voor mijn huis opgepakt #Utrecht #24oktoberplein pic.twitter.com/yypnuVAxKt
— Max (@maxuitutrecht) March 18, 2019
Tanis has been on the run ever since he killed three people and injured five others during a Monday morning attack on a tram at the 24 Oktoberplein in Utrecht. Prior to the suspect’s arrest, authorities managed to track down a red Renault Clio that Tanis used to flee the crime scene. The arrest of the Turkish suspect by the Special Interventions Service (DSI) took place off the Oudenoord, about a kilometer away from where the getaway car was discovered.
Police are now questioning the alleged shooter, but his motivation for the attack remains unclear. Authorities are working under the assumption that the mass shooting was a terrorist attack. “Because of the witness statements and evidence collected, we are considering a terrorist motive,” Public Prosecutor’s office spokesman Rutger Jeuken told reporters, stressing that “we cannot exclude other motives.”
While security forces continue their investigation, authorities went on to lower the counter-terrorism threat in Utrecht province from the highest alert, Level 5, down to Level 4. Earlier, military police were deployed to national airports, railways stations, and major roads while the hunt was underway. During Monday’s massive manhunt operation, authorities also detained two unnamed individuals in connection with the shooting. They are now being questioned.