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Woman judge, court clerk shot dead in Brussels

A man shot dead a female magistrate and a court clerk in a Brussels courtroom on Thursday before fleeing the scene, justice minister Stefaan De Clerck announced.

“This is a real drama. A magistrate, for the first time in history, and her clerk, were killed right in the tribunal room,” De Clerck told said on national television.

The justice of the peace who was killed was presiding over a civil tribunal dealing with matters such as divorce and problems with neighbours, according to the minister.

De Clerck described her as “a woman with an excellent curriculum vitae.”

“A person entered the tribunal, remained there some time, then killed, at close range, before fleeing,” he added.

“We are searching for this person,” and there were witnesses, the minister said.

The shootings took place in late morning in a building a hundred metres from the main Palace of Justice in central Brussels.

Security at court buildings in Belgium has been found wanting on several occasions in recent years, including spectacular criminal escapes from the Palace of Justice.