In an apparent attempt at vehicular homicide directed at the Dutch Royal family, four people were killed today when a man drove a car at high speed through the crowd at a Queen’s Day celebration in the city of Apeldoorn.
According to a report from Radio Netherlands:
Tragedy unfolds in Apeldoorn
Celebrations of Queen’s Day in the Dutch city of Apeldoorn took a tragic turn around midday on Thursday. Four people were killed and 13 injured when a car ploughed through a crowd of spectators watching the Queen’s Day parade.
The queen may have escaped an attack. The car broke through the barriers, hitting people and crashing into a monumental column as the open-topped coach carrying the Royal Family passed.
The public prosecutor confirmed at a press conference that the driver was acting intentionally, but that there is no terrorist connection. He is reported to have made two earlier attempts to cross safety barriers, driving at a speed of at least 80 kms/hr. The driver was injured in the crash and had to be cut from his vehicle, after which he was arrested and taken away for interrogation. At present no details have been released about the driver except that he is a 38-year old Dutch national.
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Police are meticulously searching the car wreck, assisted by the national demining squad and in the presence of the National Anti-terror Co-ordinator.
The Royal Family, waving to the crowd from their open-topped bus, witnessed the incident. Immediately afterwards the vehicle was driven to Het Loo palace, accompanied by security guards. The Government Information Service has announced the queen and her family are deeply shocked by the events.
There was some early speculation that the attack may have been an instance of “Sudden Jihad Syndrome”, but that seems unlikely now, based on the following summary by our Flemish correspondent VH of an article in Elsevier:
Attack on members of the royal family
The man who today drove his car in the crowd today (Queen’s day) and came to a halt a few meters from the bus with the royal family acted intentionally. He is a 38-year-old white man. He was in possession of a time schedule for the day’s program.
No explosives have been found.
The man is also suspected of murder or manslaughter: four spectators have died.
The offender is seriously injured and is undergoing surgery. He has still not been officially interrogated. The suspect is not known to the police. According to the weblog GeenStijl, the offender is the 38-year-old KR Tates from Huissen (near Arnhem).
It is clear that the military earlier in the day had contact with the man. What exactly happened then is not known.