Prolific Dutch crime journalist shot in Amsterdam city centre
The Dutch crime journalist Peter R. de Vries was shot in Amsterdam on Tuesday evening after leaving the Leidseplein-based studio of the TV show RTL Boulevard.
Peter R. de Vries shot in Amsterdam
After appearing as a guest on the news and chat show, De Vries walked from the studio on Leidseplein towards the Lange Leidsedwardsstraat where, at around 7.30 pm, he was shot multiple times. Dutch police say he was shot at close range, with ANP news agency quoting a witness who says they heard four shots.
De Vries was shot in the head and immediately rushed to hospital. At a press conference on Tuesday night, Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema informed the public that De Vries was “seriously injured and fighting for his life.”
On Tuesday night, the police arrested three suspects, two in a car on the A4 near The Hague, and one in East Amsterdam. Police Chief Frank Paauw has said one of the people arrested in the car could be the shooter, and one suspect has been released from custody. The Public Prosecution Service (OM) has set up a Large-Scale Investigation Team to look into the case.
De Vries' long career as a crime journalist
De Vries is a renowned journalist in the Netherlands. He has had a long and successful career as a crime reporter, but has also worked to help solve cold cases, such as the death of 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen, and operates as a counsellor to a key witness in the Marengo trial against Ridouan Taghi and sixteen co-defendants. In the past, he hosted the TV show Msdaadverslaggever ("Crime Reporter"), where he covered high profile criminal cases.
A few years ago, he testified against the Heineken Kidnapper Willem Holleeder when he was on trial for murder. In 2013, Holleeder was convicted of making threats against De Vries. In 2019, De Vries said he was on Taghi’s death list.
Dutch Prime Minister calls incident "an attack on free journalism"
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed his condolences for De Vries and his loved ones, calling the “shocking and incomprehensible” incident “an attack on free journalism.” Dutch Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus said the attack “affects journalists and damages our society.” Both Rutte and Grapperhaus said they would do “everything in their power” to ensure that “justice takes its course.”
In a statement released by journalists’ union NVJ, secretary Thomas Bruning said the incident was “what journalists have feared all along.” Meanwhile, King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima said they were “deeply shocked” by the attack, calling it “an attack on the rule of law.”