Belgian gunman killed cleaning woman 1st

2011-12-14 18:31
Liege - Belgian investigators found the apparent first victim of a gunman who attacked Christmas shoppers and schoolchildren in the city of Liege, and expressed bafflement on Wednesday over why a small-time criminal turned into a multiple killer.

The body of a cleaning woman was found at a warehouse used by gunman Nordine Amrani, killed before he headed on Tuesday for a central Liege square to attack people around a bus station with an assault rifle and grenades.

Amrani's rampage ended with a death toll of five, including two teenagers and a toddler, as well as the gunman who shot himself in the head, a prosecutor said.

The overall death toll remained unchanged despite the discovery of the body in the warehouse on Tuesday night, as another 75-year-old woman who had been declared dead was later found to be in intensive care in hospital.

Amrani, a 33-year-old previously jailed for possession of arms and drugs offences, also injured 121 people, prosecutor Daniele Reynders said. Five of the injured remained in intensive care, while a further 40 people had been treated for shock.

Motive

The dead woman found in the warehouse was a cleaner in her late 40s, although it was not clear whether she had worked for the Brussels-born gunman, Reynders told a news conference.

Investigators were still trying to establish a motive for Belgium's deadliest attack in almost 25 years.

Another prosecutor, Cedric Visart de Bocarme, said Amrani had a troubled life but this did not explain the killings.

"The enormous concern we have is how it was possible for someone seemingly sensible and normal to do this," he told La Premiere radio station. However, he added: "This was a delinquent, someone who had difficulties throughout their life."

Amrani's lawyer told Belgian television that police in the eastern city of Liege had summoned his client on Tuesday about an alleged sexual offence, which had made him nervous. Amrani failed to show up.

The killer was convicted in 2008 of growing 2 800 cannabis plants in a warehouse and Visart de Bocarme said Amrani had used the scene of the cleaner's killing for the same purpose.

Investigators said repeatedly that the motive was not terrorism.

Shock

"I completely exclude that any element in our investigation points toward the acts committed yesterday being of a terrorist nature," Reynders said.

She added that ballistic experts and doctors who examined Amrani's body had determined that he had committed suicide and not been killed by one of his grenades, as had previously been considered a possibility.

"What killed him was a bullet that he shot into his head," she said.

Belgian institutions, including parliament in the region of Wallonia, held minutes of silence before starting business while messages of condolence came in from abroad.

Place Saint Lambert, the scene of the attack, appeared largely back to normal on Wednesday and the Christmas market, the largest in Belgium, was set to reopen.

A number of bus shelters lacked glass, shattered by the bullets and grenades that also put a hole into a nearby wall.

Flowers lay beside one shelter. "To the families destroyed by an imbecile without moral values or hurt by an armed madman or shocked by the drama, I give them all my support," read one card.

Local people expressed shock, sadness and fear.

"It's traumatic," said high school student Robin Hames, whose sister was in the same class as a 17-year-old boy who died.

"You meet him in school and he will never come back. He didn't do anything. It was an exam day and he never came home."
Read more on:    belgium  |  belgium attack
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic & Train Alerts
Traffic
Cape Town 08:55 AM
Road name: N1 Inbound

SLOW TRAFFIC approaching the Marine Drive exit

Cape Town 08:51 AM
Road name: N2 Inbound

STATIONARY VEHICLE in the left lane at the Mowbray Main Road exit - DELAYS from Bhunga Avenue

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Deal of the Week!

Get bestselling John Green novels now just R99 each! Hurry and get yours while stocks last. Shop here.

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Social media is pulling you in and you have the desire to find out everything you know about your friends and you have the urge to...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.