Belgian police kill mentally ill pensioner after attack

19th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

The unnamed man, who had refused to be moved from his home, attacked officers with a knife.

BRUSSELS - Belgian police shot dead a 67-year-old psychiatric patient after he launched a frenzied knife attack on three officers Wednesday, leaving one critically injured, local officials said.

Four local police officers were sent to take the pensioner, who had a history of serious mental illness, to the university hospital in the western town of Ghent where he was to be held.

The unnamed man, who had refused to be moved from his home, "immediately attacked with a knife" when the officers appeared on the landing of his building on Wednesday morning, said police chief Wim Van Hulle.

The life of one 35-year-old officer, whose throat was slashed by the large kitchen knife, was in danger, Ghent public prosecutor Johan Sabbe said.

Nevertheless he managed to shoot and kill his assailant.

One of his colleagues was also wounded in the neck, while a third received face and back wounds.

All three were wearing bullet-proof vests as the sexagenarian had spent five spells in psychiatric hospitals between 1993 and 2005 and was known to be dangerous.

"We knew he could be violent, that's why we sent two police patrols," said Van Hulle.

Enquiries have been opened into the attack and the police action, the prosecutor said.


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