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Raphael Jesurum reports for BBC News
"A teacher and three others students were hit"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 8 December, 1999, 15:14 GMT
Dutch student on attempted murder charge
blood stain The shooting has caused a public outcry over rising violence in the Netherlands


The 17-year old student who opened fire in a school in the southern Dutch town of Veghel has been charged with attempted murder.

The youth, who is being held at a local police station, shot and critically wounded a fellow student at the Leijgraaf school on Monday, and injured three other students and a teacher.


Motives for the attack are still unclear but a brother of one of four students wounded has told police that a long-running family feud was behind the rampage.

The brother, whose name was not released in line with Dutch privacy laws, said that his family had feared an attack like Tuesday's for months and had sought police protection from the 17-year-old suspect back in August, and then again the night before the shooting.

He said the families - both of Turkish origin - had squabbled over a romance between the suspect's sister and a son of the other family.

The suspect's family had just returned from a holiday in Turkey the day before the shootings, he said.

"We asked the police again for protection" the night before the shooting," he said. "We didn't get it."

Dutch authorities said they also were interrogating the suspect's father, who they said drove his son to the school just before the shooting, waited outside in the family's Mercedes sedan, then drove his son to the police station. Police did not say whether the father could also face charges as an accessory.

Amnesty

Justice Minister Benk Korthals described Monday's shooting as "horrific" and said he was "deeply troubled" by the rise in violent crime in the Netherlands.


Students often carry a weapon because it looks tough
Lars Poppe
"We have to be careful not to go in the same direction as America" he said, referring to the series of school shootings that have occurred there recently.

The Dutch shooting sparked calls on Wednesday for a nation-wide firearms amnesty and renewed efforts to control violence the streets.

An organisation to combat public violence called Platform Against Street Violence has advised the Justice Ministry to follow up its amnesty, set to start on Thursday, with a collection of firearms.

bullet hole in door Official statistics indicate 11% of students take weapons to school
"The incidence of reported cases of violence has risen steeply in recent years...clearly people feel unsafe" its spokesman Lars Poppe said.

He said the collection should be accompanied by a high-profile campaign aimed at changing students' attitudes to carrying weapons.

"Students often carry a weapon because it looks tough, or because they're scared, or because everyone else does...we have to change that mentality" he said.

Counselling

Classes resumed in the school on Wednesday with students meeting in groups to discuss the tragedy.

Grief counselling has been offered by the principal to those who need it.

Students who witnessed the shooting described the scene as "chaos".

"People were running and crying," one young boy said afterwards.

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See also:
07 Dec 99 |  Europe
Student shoots four at Dutch school
06 Dec 99 |  Americas
Four injured in US school shooting
16 Nov 99 |  Americas
Child found guilty of US shooting
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School 'massacre' plot foiled
29 Sep 99 |  Europe
The Mafia's 'baby killers'
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