Body found at Belgian shooter’s garage

Police find body on gunman’s property as Liege reels in aftermath of attack that left several dead including baby girl.

Police officers and experts surround a dead body at the Place Saint Lambert square where a man threw explosives in the city center belof the Belgian city of Liege December 13, 2011.

Police have found the body of a woman while searching a garage linked to a gunman whose shooting spree in the Belgian city of Liege left at least three other people dead and scores more wounded.

A prosecutor told a press conference on Wednesday that a 17-month-old girl and a 17-year-old male had died overnight of wounds sustained in the attacks, in addition to one person killed at the scene.

The gunman, identified as Nordine Amrani, opened fire on passers-by with an assault rifle and threw grenades in a busy shopping area of the city on Tuesday afternoon before apparently killing himself.

The people who witnessed the attack said the gunman was like a hunter, trying to kill as many as possible.”

– Jacky Rowland, Al Jazeera

Five people remained in intensive care, among them a 75-year-old woman in a critical condition who was earlier reported as having died, said Daniele Reynders, the prosecutor. More than 120 people were taken to hospital after the incident.

Reynders said Amrani, 33, appeared to have shot himself in the head and had left no explanation for his actions.

“Nordine Amrani committed suicide with a bullet to the head,” she told reporters. “He left no message to explain his act.”

The woman’s body was found at a garage where Amrani had previously cultivated cannabis plants, along with weapons and ammunition, Reynders said. A handgun was also found at Amrani’s home address.

Witnesses said Amrani had climbed onto the roof of a bakery before beginning his shooting spree in Place Saint Lambert, a central shopping square which is the site of Liege’s Christmas market and its main courthouse.

Wissam Anabtawi, who recorded footage of the attacks on his mobile phone, said: “I was on the bus and then I got off it. I saw this guy, I think he was Moroccan, I don’t know, and then there was a bomb. Afterwards, I saw a bunch of people and glass everywhere.”

The attack sent terrified residents running for their lives, fleeing into churches and shops.

Gunman ‘like a hunter’

“The people who witnessed the attack said the gunman was like a hunter, trying to kill as many as possible,” Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, reporting from Liege, said.

Police were on the scene quickly and sealed off the square with residents ordered to stay in their homes or seek shelter in shops or public buildings.

Dozens of emergency vehicles took victims away for treatment while a museum on the square was converted into a makeshift hospital.

“Luckily the mayor had postponed the opening of the Christmas market due to bad weather and high winds. Otherwise many more would have died,” a town hall employee told the AFP news agency.

Judicial sources said Amrani was known to police and had served a prison sentence for illegal possession of arms and growing cannabis.

Belgium’s federal crisis centre said the attack was neither a terrorist incident nor linked to a pending criminal trial.

Elio Di Rupo, Belgium’s prime minister, stressed the attack was the act of a lone assailant, a man known to police who had no links to terrorism.

“The whole country shares in the pain. This is an isolated case. This is not about terrorism,” he said during a visit to the city.

As the shocked nation sought to understand the motive behind the carnage, tearful residents of Liege turned out to lay wreaths on the city’s central square.

King Albert II and Queen Paola also visited the scene.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies