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Dutch crime reporter seriously wounded in brazen Amsterdam shooting

Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries
Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries in 2008.
(Peter Dejong / Associated Press)

One of the Netherlands’ best-known crime reporters was shot Tuesday evening in a brazen attack in downtown Amsterdam and was fighting for his life in a hospital, the city’s mayor said.

Peter R. de Vries, who is widely lauded for fearless reporting on the Dutch underworld, was shot after making one of his regular appearances on a current affairs television show. It was an unusually brutal attack on a journalist in the Netherlands.

“Peter R. de Vries is for all of us a national hero, an unusually courageous journalist, tirelessly seeking justice,” Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema said at a hastily convened news conference at the city’s police headquarters.

“Today, justice in our country appears a long way off. A brutal, cowardly crime has been committed,” Halsema added.

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Police Chief Frank Paauw said two suspects were detained, “including a possible shooter” in a suspected getaway car stopped on a highway about 30 miles south of the city. A third suspect was detained in Amsterdam, he said.

There was no immediate word on a motive.

The July 4 weekend saw a spike in violence, with a dozen people killed in L.A. and several in surrounding communities.

De Vries, 64, had long been considered a possible target of the criminals he doggedly reported on. Police and prosecutors declined to comment on whether he received police protection.

Caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the shooting “shocking and incomprehensible,” and said it was “an attack on a courageous journalist and also an attack on the free journalism that is so essential for our democracy, our constitutional state, our society.”

De Vries had recently been acting as an advisor and confidant to a witness in the high-profile trial of an alleged leader of a criminal gang described by police as an “oiled killing machine.”

The suspected gangland leader, Ridouan Taghi, was extradited to the Netherlands from Dubai in 2019. He is currently in jail while he stands trial along with 16 other suspects.

King Willem-Alexander and his wife, Queen Maxima, tweeted a message of support and said that “journalists must be free to carry out their important work without threats.”

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De Vries won an International Emmy in 2008 for a television show he made about the disappearance of U.S. teenager Natalee Holloway while she was on vacation in the Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba in 2005.


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