7 Dead in Dutch mall massacre

A gunman in the Netherlands killed seven people and wounded 16 before taking his own life, Dutch officials say.

In shopping center Ridderhof in Alphen aan den Rijn a man armed with a machine gun went on a shooting rampage inside the shopping mall in the west of The Netherlands on Saturday afternoon.

The mayor of the town said the man opened fire with an automatic weapon and then shot himself in the head.

The Dutch municipality confirmed the deaths of seven people, including the gunman. Sixteen people were seriously wounded, the victims also include some children, the municipality said.

The gunman has not been formally identified and no explanation for the shooting has been reported.

The police evacuated two supermarkets in the complex and shutdown the mall. Emergency teams were called to the mall, and photos on social networking sites showed the area cordoned off by police tape with victims being carried to waiting ambulances.

The owner of a pet store has witnessed everything. “There was panic in the mall, many people running. I saw people lying on the floor. When I saw the gunman, I went inside and I closed the blinds.”

According to the shop owner the gunman started shooting with a big machine gun. It was at that time very busy in the mall. He fears that there are certainly five to ten deaths. The gunman, a man of about 25 years old had blond hair and was wearing a bomber leather jacket and camouflage pattern trousers.

Another eyewitness has not seen the shooting itself, but on arrival saw a corpse lying in a parking lot.

On April 2 there was also a shooting in Alphen aan den Rijn. When two people were killed and two were injured.

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