Liege (May 30, 2018): Belgian authorities are investigating the killing of two policewomen and a passerby in the eastern city of Liege on Tuesday as a terror attack, the country’s prosecutor said.
Belgian media is naming the gunman as Benjamin Herman. A spokesperson for the Brussels prosecutor told the journalists that the attacker, who was shot dead by police, was 31 years old and had the initials B.H. but declined to provide the full name.Local media reported that Herman was let out of prison on temporary release on Monday. He had been serving time on drug offences.
The incident occurred around 10:30 a.m., when the assailant stabbed two policewomen from behind before stealing their service weapons and using them on the officers, Liege Prosecutor Philippe Dulieu said at a news conference on Tuesday.After killing the two officers, the attacker continued walking through the street and opened fire on a parked vehicle, fatally wounding the driver inside, Dulieu said.
According to the prosecutor, the suspect then took refuge in a local high school, where he held a woman hostage. When police intervened, the man opened fire, injuring several other officers, before he was shot dead.
“It is clear that the objective of the assassin was to target the police,” the head of Liege Police, Christian Beaupere, said later Tuesday. Beaupere said he wanted to reassure parents that the gunman did not plan to attack a school. “His objective was not to kill in a school but to harm the police, the institutions and the state of Belgium.”Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel said he and the government send their thoughts to the victims and their families.
The Belgian Royal Palace also tweeted its sympathies after the shooting. “Our thoughts are with the victims of this horrible act. Courage to their loved ones,” the tweet read.
Michel and King Philippe of Belgium arrived in Liege later Tuesday.
Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said on Twitter that the country’s crisis center had been monitoring the situation. The crisis center said the students in the school were safe and that none had been injured.