No fatalities have been reported, but witnesses took pictures of at least one person lying on the ground, covered in a sheet.
Police have admitted the possibility of a ‘terrorist motive,’ but so far, details have been sketchy, many news outlets only covering the barest facts and then moving on to other ‘news.’
The Associated Press reported:
Utrecht police said that trauma helicopters were sent to the scene and appealed to the public to stay away to allow first responders to do their work. Television footage showed that a body appeared to be lying next to the tram.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the situation “very worrying” and the country’s counterterror coordinator said in a tweet that a crisis team was meeting to discuss the situation. The alert level was raised to its highest level for the area around Utrecht.
Police spokesman Bernhard Jens said that no one had been detained yet.
Jens said that “one explanation is that the person fled by car.” He did not rule out the possibility that more than one person was involved.
“We want to try to catch the person responsible as soon as possible,” Jens said.
The New York Times reported that the province had activated a crisis team to deal with the aftermath, adding:
Dutch paramilitary police increased security at airports and other vital infrastructure points.
Trauma helicopters have been sent to the scene, the Utrecht police said on Twitter, and trams in the city have been shut down while the authorities investigate.
Local media reported that a gunman fled the scene after the attack, which took place around 10:45 a.m., and might have escaped in a car. By midday there had been no arrests, and officials did not rule out the possibility that there was more than one attacker.
The University Medical Center Utrecht opened a specialized disaster unit in response to the shooting.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte interrupted a weekly cabinet meeting to monitor the situation, several news outlets reported.
The authorities were urging people to avoid the area to allow aid workers to reach the site of the attack at October 24 Square.
Utrecht, about 25 miles from Amsterdam, has a population of about 330,000.
Jimmy de Koster told the television station RTV Utrecht that he was at the square, heard gunfire and saw a young woman, apparently wounded, lying on the ground.
“Four men walked very fast toward her and tried to drag her away,” he said. More shots were then fired, he said.
These various reports may indicate another possible motive, such as a targeted hit, but the multiple victims don’t fit with that theory either.