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Gunman runs amok in Dutch town Alphen

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The perpetrator of a shooting at a shopping mall in the Dutch town of Alphen aan de Rijn has been identified as 24-year-old Tristan van der Vlis. At least seven people were killed including the gunman who committed suicide.

He was interviewed by the police in 2003 for a violation of the gun laws, but was nevertheless later issued a gun permit. He legally owned five guns of which three were found on him after he killed himself. It is not clear whether he used any of these three weapons during the shooting. Eyewitnesses said he used an automatic weapon, which he could not have obtained legally.

During a press conference, Public Prosecutor Kitty Nooy denied earlier reports that the gunman had killed his mother and injured his father. She also denied rumours suggesting he had a military background. Van der Vlis and his father were living in an apartment near the shopping mall. A farewell note was found in his mother's house.

The police found a note in his car stating that he had planted explosives at three other malls, which were subsequently evacuated by the authorities as a precaution. About 150 police officers and detectives are involved in the ongoing forensic investigation.

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(gsh)

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