A knife-wielding attacker stabbed two police officers before stealing their guns and shooting them and an innocent passer-by dead.
A police officer on the scene covers his face (Picture: Reuters)
Prosecutors have said they fear the attack in the Belgian city of Liege could be terror-related.
The gunman was later killed by police after murdering the three victims and taking a cleaner hostage in a nearby school. He approached two police officers from behind while carrying a knife and stabbed them several times, said Philippe Dulieu, spokesman for the Liege prosecutor’s office. ‘He then took their weapons.
He used the weapons on the officers, who died,’ Mr Dulieu told reporters. The prosecutor said the attacker then shot dead a 22-year-old man who was in a nearby car, before he took the woman hostage in the Atheneum Léonie de Waha high school.
Police special forces are seen next to a man on the pavement, understood to be the shooter, in Liege, Belgium (Picture: Reuters)
A police man stands next to a man who holds his head in his hands at the scene of the shooting (Picture: AP)
Grab from a video posted to Facebook believed to show the moment armed police surrounded the building where the suspect had fled before shooting him
The students at the school are said to be safe under police protection. The shooting began outside a city cafe on the Boulevard d’Avroy. Two other people are believed to have been injured in the attack. A spokesman for the police said: ‘Liege police intervened. He came out firing at police, wounding a number of them, notably in the legs. ‘He was shot dead.’
Police officers crouch behind parked cars after the suspect shot and killed three people in Liege, Belgium
A senior official at the federal prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press that ‘there are indications it could be a terror attack’. Anti-terror police quickly surrounded the area, but Belgium’s crisis centre said it saw no reason to raise the country’s terror threat alert for now. When asked whether the attack was terror-related, Michel Firket from Liege city hall said:
‘I know nothing formal about that. The police is doing its investigation. There are no formal conclusions.’ A spokeswoman for the city mayor’s office, Laurence Comminette, told reporters that the children at the school were all safe. Prime Minister Charles Michel said only that ‘there was a serious incident’. He was rushing to the crisis centre to get more information.
Yves Stevens, of Belgium’s federal crisis centre, said that security in Liege is now under control, and that there was no reason yet to raise the national terror threat level.
‘There is absolutely no confirmation yet that the incident is terror-related,’ Mr Stevens said. Gunshots were heard in nearby buildings according to footage uploaded to social media. Video posted on Twitter by a person claiming to be a witness showed people running in the area. About six gunshots could be heard.
Deuxième convoi d’ambulance qui quitte la zone. La situation a l’air d’être terminée. Moins d’effervescence sur le boulevard, les policiers sont moins sur les nerfs pic.twitter.com/sexjKmfkuG
— Victor ⌬ (@VICTORJ_FR) May 29, 2018
Another video posted to Facebook appears to show the moment the suspect leaves a building in Liege which is surrounded by armed police. In the footage, filmed by a witness in the street, several gunshots are heard in quick succession and the suspect is seen attempting to run before he falls to the ground.
Belgian police and military have been on alert since suicide bombers killed 32 people at the Brussels airport and subway system in 2016.