Liege killings treated as ‘terrorist murders’

Geneva Stokes
June 1, 2018

Police later killed the attacker, and other officers were wounded in the shooting.

The murders of police officers Lucile Garcia, 45, and Soraya Belkacemi, 53, and 22-year-old Cyril Vangriecken has sent shock waves through the small nation.

Herman was on a "radical watchlist", according to Reuters, and was on a two-day release from prison to prepare for his full release in 2020.

King Philippe and prime minister Charles Michel visited Liege. The suspect was shot dead by police.

The prime minister said Herman did not have his name on a list maintained by an anti-terror assessment group.

The attacker killed two female police officers by stabbing them from behind, stealing their service weapons and shooting them. Two other police officers were injured.

Belgium has experienced numerous attacks over the past several years.

A police man stands next to a man who holds his head in his hands at the scene of a shooting in Liege, Belgium, Tuesday, May 29, 2018.

Prosecutors said the man followed and "savagely" attacked the two women officers from behind with a knife before taking a gun from them and opening fire.

Lamny said "that's touched me really bad, because that is where I live and every morning I am scared that something like this will happen and every day it happens a little bit closer to home".

The third victim, 22-year-old Cyril Vangriecken, was sitting in the passenger seat of a nearby parked vehicle when he was shot. The attacker was later killed by police.

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The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly about an ongoing investigation.

Information for this article was contributed by Milan Schreuer of The New York Times; and by Lorne Cook, Sylvain Plazy and Raf Casert of The Associated Press.

The national crisis center, on high alert since past attacks by Islamic State in Paris and Brussels in the past three years, said it was monitoring events but had not raised its alert level.

"The question of whether this man should have been given leave is striking because he killed three completely innocent people with a wish to kill himself", he told RTBF radio.

IS suicide attacks then targeted Brussels airport and a metro station, leaving 32 people dead in March 2016.

Officials are treating the motives for the killings of the officers and the bystander in Liege as terrorism.

The killer "is also suspected of a manslaughter in On, Marche-en-Famenne", in southern Belgium, he added. Two other people have been wounded. He then took a female cleaner hostage in the nearby Leonie de Waha school, a public institution with several hundred students aged from two to 18.

"There is absolutely no confirmation yet that the incident is terror-related", Stevens told the AP.

Video posted on Twitter by a person claiming to be a witness showed people running in the area.

Around 10:30 a.m. (GMT 0830), loud gunshots were heard in the center of Liege.

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