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Tristan VAN DER VLIS

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


2011 Alphen aan den Rijn shopping mall shooting
 
Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: Shopping mall shooting
Number of victims: 6
Date of murder: April 9, 2011
Date of birth: 1977
Victims profile: Three males (aged 80, 49 and 42) and three females (aged 91, 68 and 45)
Method of murder: Shooting
Location: Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands
Status: Committed suicide by shooting himself the same day
 
 

 
 

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On 9 April 2011, six people were killed by a gunman who entered the Ridderhof mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands, a town approximately 33 kilometres (21 mi) south-west of Amsterdam.

Using a rifle, 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis shot several people and then killed himself, reportedly with a different firearm. There were seven deaths, including the killer, and 17 wounded, making it the deadliest incident in the Netherlands since the 2009 attack on the Dutch Royal Family.

Shooting

Van der Vlis, wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with a semi-automatic Smith & Wesson M&P15-22, a pistol and a revolver, first got out of his black mercedes-benz and shot a person outside, then entered the Ridderhof mall and fired more than 100 rounds, killing five people and injuring another 17 before he took a pistol, put it on his head and took his own life.

Many shoppers in the centre panicked before it was evacuated and cordoned off. Later that day one of the injured victims succumbed to injuries, raising the total number of deceased to seven. The gunman had left a note in his car stating that explosives had been left in three malls in the city; these malls were subsequently evacuated. Children were among the victims, but they had suffered only mild injuries. Among the dead are three males aged 80, 49 and 42, and three females aged 91, 68 and 45.

Perpetrator

The shooter was 25-year-old Tristan van der Vlis, who lived in an apartment complex in Alphen aan den Rijn with his parents. He had lived in Alphen since his childhood. According to the police, he had an obsession in guns since his childhood. He was a member of a shooting association and possessed three firearms.

He previously had a history of psychological and psychiatric problems, including paranoid schizophrenia; in 2006 he spent 10 days in a closed institution after attempting suicide. He tried to attempt suicide at least twice in 2008.

Response

The Netherlands Government Information Service, through a brief statement on Twitter, said Queen Beatrix was "speechless because of the great loss and sadness;" and politicians such as Minister of Security and Justice Ivo Opstelten expressed feelings of shock and tragedy.

Several thousand people attended a memorial service at the mall on 10 April. Prime minister Mark Rutte, Minister Opstelten and acting Mayor of Alphen aan den Rijn Bas Eenhoorn were also present.

Copycat threats

Shortly after the shooting, police arrested a 17-year-old boy who threatened to carry out another mass shooting. The teenager from Rotterdam allegedly posted on Twitter:

Haha Iraq is also coming to the Netherlands. This man in Alphen already has 6 kills on his name. I'm going to outdo him.

After a backlash, the boy deleted the post and claimed it was a joke. Since then, four other people were arrested for making similar threats on Twitter.

Wikipedia.org


Dutch gunman van der Vlis faced illegal weapons probe

BBC News

April 10, 2011

The gunman who killed six people in the Netherlands before taking his own life had previously been investigated over illegal weapons.

A Dutch prosecutor said Tristan van der Vlis, 24, had faced an inquiry in 2003 but had not been convicted.

He went on a shooting rampage with an automatic weapon on Saturday at a shopping centre in Alphen aan den Rijn.

Officials said he had permits for five weapons. It is not clear if one of them was used in the shootings.

Dutch law bans possession of automatic weapons.

The gunman came from the town, was known to police and "almost certainly operated alone", said public prosecutor Kitty Nooy.

She said he was a member of a shooting club who was allowed to own five weapons, of which he actually possessed three.

"It is unclear whether he used one of them in the shooting," she said.

'Random shootings'

Van der Vlis entered the Ridderhof shopping centre around midday and opened fire. He was described as wearing a bomber jacket and camouflage trousers

He killed five people before shooting himself fatally in the head. One of the four critically injured later died. At least seven other people were also injured.

Children were among the casualties, but officials say they are not prepared to say whether they were among the dead or the injured due to privacy reasons.

Witnesses said van der Vlis appeared to be shooting at random. Police arrived just as the gunfire was ending.

Mayor Bas Eenhoorn called the incident "unprecedented" for the town of about 70,000 people.

Bomb alert

Officials said van der Vlis left two notes, neither of which gave an explanation for his actions.

One note, found by his mother, spoke of his suicidal feelings, town's Mayor Bas Eenhorn said.

The other note was found in his car parked outside the shopping centre.

"The letter said: 'There are explosives in three other shopping malls in Alphen aan den Rijn'," prosecutor Kitty Nooy said.

The shopping centres were evacuated but no bombs were found.

Ms Nooy said van der Vlis had not been in the military and had no history of dealing with explosives.

The Netherlands has strict gun laws and shootings are rare. Despite this, two people were killed on 2 April in a shooting in the same district of the town. Officials have not made a link between the two incidents.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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