Man Killed in Attack on Art Museum

He tried to stab passersby with two meat cleavers.

The assailant fled when police were called to the scene Photo: Sietce Wierda via Twitter (@sietce)

The assailant fled when police were called to the scene
Photo: Sietce Wierda via Twitter (@sietce)

Police in the Dutch city of Groningen shot and killed a man on Sunday who had threatened and tried to stab pedestrians with two large meat cleavers outside an art museum, AFP reports. According to police spokesman Ernest Zinsmeyer, the shooting took place around 5:30 pm outside of the city’s Groninger Museum.

Officers chased the perpetrator after he fled the scene upon their arrival. When the man failed to respond to instructions to stop and didn’t react to a warning shot, police shot him as he jumped into a nearby canal. Police say he may also have injured himself in the fall with the knives he was carrying. After the man’s body was recovered from the water, attempts to resuscitate him failed.

Crime scene investigators collected evidence at the scene until the early hours of Sunday morning. The body was taken to the Groningen University Medical Center for an autopsy. Results were expected to be delivered by Tuesday and are hoped to provide clarity on the exact cause of death.

Police are meanwhile trying to determine the identity of the attacker and his motive. They have asked any witnesses to Sunday’s events to come forward with information. A police spokesman told de Telegraaf that, based on preliminary investigations, “At this time there is no indication of an incident that has to do with terrorism or jihadism. The man seemed confused.”

Groningen Police were not immediately available for comment to artnet News on developments regarding the potential motives of the attack or the results of the autopsy.

The two policemen involved in the shooting were brought to a local police station. The Dutch National Police has launched an investigation into the incident in accordance to protocol when firearms are involved in the death or serious injury of a suspect.

The attack and subsequent death comes amidst a recent uptick in violent threats against museums following the terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo (see Security Threats Force London’s V&A to Remove Prophet Muhammad ArtworkBelgian Museum Cancels Charlie Hebdo Exhibition, and Why the Killing of Charlie Hebdo Cartoonists Will Make Art Stronger).

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