Street killings were 'well prepared'
12 May 2006, BRUSSELS — A house raid has indicated that the 18-year-old man who shot and killed a black woman and a two-year-old child on Thursday carefully planned his killing spree.
12 May 2006
BRUSSELS — A house raid has indicated that the 18-year-old man who shot and killed a black woman and a two-year-old child on Thursday carefully planned his killing spree.
In the bedroom of 18-year-old Hans Van Themsche, police found plans indicating he wanted to kill multiple victims. He was not known to judicial authorities, but had extreme-right tendencies.
The public prosecution office initially said the killings appeared to be racially-motivated, but has since been more reticent in describing the shooting as racism-driven. It stressed that the suspect has not yet been questioned.
The 18-year-old skinhead had walked to the Kleine Goddaard, near the Great Market, in Antwerp on Thursday morning with hunting weapon he had just bought.
He then found his first victim: a 47-year-old Turkish woman who was reading a book on a street bench in front of a language centre where immigrants can learn Dutch.
She was shot in the chest, but is not in a life threatening condition. She underwent an operation on Thursday night. The single woman, who has two sons aged 24 and 29, lives in the suburb of Luchtbal and was in the city centre by coincidence.
The killer than walked to the Zwartzustersstraat where he found his next two victims, a black woman and a native Flemish child on her tricycle. They died almost immediately at the scene after being shot.
The woman has been identified as an immigrant from Mali. She was pregnant and had only lived in Belgium for a year. She was taking care of the girl, aged two-and-a-half.
The shooter remained cool-headed and appeared as though he wanted to continue his rampage in the city centre, but a police officer who was in the vicinity by chance rushed to the scene.
He asked the suspect three times to remove the rifle from his shoulder and lay it on the ground. The man refused each time and when he made a sudden move, the police officer shot him in the stomach. The suspect was taken to hospital for treatment.
According to witnesses, the man appeared very determined and reacted with cold-bloodedness.
"It looked just like the man had stepped out of the film 'The Matrix'. Completely dressed in black. When I saw the weapon, I joked that it was not a fun fair," a witness said.
"Suddenly, he fired two shots and we immediately jumped behind a corner because he pointed his weapon at us. You expect something like that in New York or on television. But not in Antwerp right before your eyes."
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Belgian news