© Reuters. People watch as police officers secure the area where celebrated Dutch crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, known for his reporting on some of the most renowned criminals in the Netherlands, was allegedly shot and seriously injured in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
By Toby Sterling and Bart H. Meijer
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Noted Dutch criminal reporter Peter R. de Vries, known for his work to expose the criminal underworld, was fighting for his life after being shot on an Amsterdam street, authorities said Tuesday.
Three suspects were detained, including the possible shooter, police said. They declined to provide details.
“He was seriously injured and is fighting for his life,” Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema told a televised press conference. “He is a national hero to all of us. A rare and courageous journalist who tirelessly sought justice.”
Police cordoned off the area of the shooting near the downtown Leidseplein. They were collecting video footage, witness statements, and forensic evidence.
De Vries won an International Emmy Award in the current affairs category in 2008 for his work investigating the disappearance of teenager Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the attack “shocking and incomprehensible. It was an attack on a courageous journalist and also an attack on the free press that is so fundamental to our democracy.”
“We pray that it survives,” he said.
Dutch broadcaster RTL said De Vries had just left his studio in central Amsterdam when one of the five shots hit him in the head.
The Amsterdam newspaper Parool published a picture of the scene with several people gathered around a person lying on the ground.
De Vries, 64, is a celebrity in the Netherlands, both as a frequent commentator on television crime shows and as an expert crime reporter with sources in both law enforcement and the underworld.
De Vries is known in the Netherlands for his investigative work in countless cases, especially after the 1983 kidnapping of beer magnate Freddy Heineken (OTC :).
De Vries had received threats from the criminal world in the past in connection with several cases.
In 2013, Willem Holleeder, the Heineken hijacker, was convicted of threatening De Vries. Holleeder is currently serving a life sentence for his role in five murders.
In 2019, Ridouan Taghi, currently on trial for murder and drug trafficking, took the unusual step of making a public statement denying reports that he had threatened to kill De Vries.
De Vries has acted as an advisor, but not a lawyer, to a state witness identified as Nabil B. who testified in the case against Taghi and his alleged associates.
Nabil B.’s previous lawyer was shot and killed on an Amsterdam street in September 2019.
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