Two people were killed during a shooting in Brussels on Monday, October 17, 2023.
At the time of publishing this article, the suspect was on the run, the Belgian capital’s prosecutor’s office said.
It is not clear if the shooting was targeted or had other motives.
The alleged gunman in a fluorescent orange jacket fled the scene after using an automatic rifle, according to a video shared by Flemish newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said an investigation had been opened but did not speculate on the gunman’s motive.
At the time of publishing, no suspect has yet been arrested, and police have cordoned off the scene, according to local media reports.
Belgium’s prime minister, Alexander De Croo, urged people in the city to ‘be vigilent’.
“My deepest condolences to the relatives of the cowardly assassination attempt in Brussels,” he wrote in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“We are monitoring the situation and would like to ask the residents of Brussels to be vigilant.”
The shooting reportedly took place near Sainctelette Plein, to the north of Brussels city centre.
It is around three miles (5km) from the King Baudouin Stadium, where the match is taking place.
A shooting has just taken place in Brussels, Belgium. pic.twitter.com/0lkepCOOFw
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 16, 2023
Gun violence in Belgium
Belgium has a rate of homicides caused by firearms of 0.7 per 100,000 deaths, which is similar to those of Italy and Portugal.
Gun violence is a daily scourge that threatens the most fundamental right to life, and more than 600 people die every day as a result of firearms violence.
Gun violence committed by private individuals is typically concentrated in low-income urban neighborhoods with high levels of crime, including drug trafficking, and many of these areas are blighted by inadequate policing or policing that does not comply with international standards on human rights and law enforcement, and a lack of access to public services.
The Firearms Protocol is the only international treaty that addresses the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts and components, and ammunition.
Parties to the Firearms Protocol undertake to adopt and implement the strongest possible legislation consistent with their national legal system to prevent, investigate, and prosecute the offenses stemming from the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms.
Specific measures include the confiscation, seizure, and destruction of firearms illicitly manufactured or trafficked, the maintenance of records for at least 10 years to identify and trace firearms and more.
A systematic review of Western European nations shows that more restrictive regulations concurred with fewer firearm homicides, as well as a lower prevalence of firearms.
Therefore, easy access to and proliferation of firearms, combined with socio-economic factors, can have a harmful impact on the community’s full range of human rights.