Utrecht tram shooting: Tram doors wouldn't open when the gunman started firing, recalls witness
One of the other witnesses on board the tram reported that the doors of the tram would not open immediately when they tried to get out
Daan Molenaar, a man who was reportedly in the Utrecht tram when 37-year-old gunman Gökmen Tanis opened fire, recalled the terrifying incident on a radio show: "It feels rather surreal, what happened this morning."
The witness said that he had been standing at the front of the tram when the Turkish-born gunman opened fire. He said that it happened to be good luck for him but he understood only later how close he had come to losing his life. Molenaar said that he had not realized what had happened in the tram in the beginning.
NOS Journal reported that, according to Molenaar, the tram had stopped at a curve in the track and the doors were closed. He said he looked outside and saw a woman who was further down the road. Molenaar said on the NOS Radio 1 show: "At first I thought it was an accident, someone had been run over. That happens often on that tram line."
The police asks you to look out for the 37 year old Gökman Tanis (born in Turkey) associated with the incident this morning at the #24oktoberplein in #Utrecht. Do not approach him but call 0800-6070. pic.twitter.com/U1IWEDtUYu— Politie Utrecht (@PolitieUtrecht) March 18, 2019
He then said that he soon saw people running towards the woman and dragging her away from the spot, but then he suddenly saw something that seemed to be straight out of a movie scene. Molenaar said that he saw a man with a gun approaching the group. His immediate reaction was, "Then I thought, I have to get away quickly."
One of the other witnesses on board the tram also reported that the doors of the tram would not open immediately when they tried to get out. She said: "The conductor couldn't get the doors open immediately. Two boys next to me kicked a window out, through which I fled outside. Most people did that."
Molenaar recalled the moment the passengers jumped out and added: "Then I heard shots to my left and I thought: this is bigger than what I saw on the other side and I started running very fast."
Burgemeester Jan van Zanen reageert op het schietincident eerder vandaag pic.twitter.com/PzI6t2tPtX— Gemeente Utrecht (@GemeenteUtrecht) March 18, 2019
He also said that the suspect approached the group in a purposeful manner. "It seemed as if he wanted to catch that person again, or maybe the people who were helping her." He also said that he saw people hiding behind cars: "Just like an American western film." Although he couldn't remember what the suspect looked like, he did remember some details. He said: "He looked quite young and had a jacket on. But I couldn't recognize a face."
NLTimes reported that local resident Jimmy de Koster saw the shooting happen. He said: "I came from my work when it happened. I was standing at the traffic lights on 24 Oktoberplein and I saw a woman lying on the ground, I think she was between 20 and 35 years old. At that moment I heard three times bang bang bang. Four men ran to her and tried to drag her away and then I again heard bang bang bang and they let go of the woman. Complete chaos there."
MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) previously reported that police, including heavily armed officers, flooded the area soon after the shooting that left at least three people dead and at least five injured.