A Dutch lawyer in a major gangland case has been shot dead outside his Amsterdam home – a crime described by police as exceptionally brutal.
Derk Wiersum, 44, was the lawyer for a state witness in a case against members of a violent drug gang, who are accused of five murders between 2015 and 2017.
A hoodie-wearing suspect fled on foot.
Police chief Erik Akerboom said “with this brutal murder, a new limit has been crossed: now even people simply doing their work no longer seem safe”.
Jan Struijs of the NPB police union said “organised crime has got totally out of control”. He said the Netherlands had turned into a “narco-state”.
And Justice Minister Ferd Grapperhaus called the shooting “an attack on our rule of law”.
Police said they were looking for a young man dressed in black and a hoodie, seen fleeing the scene after the shooting soon after 07:30 local time (05:30 GMT).
One of Mr Wiersum’s two children was at home at the time.
On Twitter fellow lawyer Jillis Roelse called it “one of the blackest days” for criminal law practitioners.
He described Derk Wiersum as “one big, passionate heart for his work and clients”.
“This is really horrible news. But everything he stood for and believed in so strongly will come back stronger than ever before,” Mr Roelse said.
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Mr Wiersum had been defending a gang member who turned state witness – named by Dutch media as Nabil B – whose brother was shot dead last year.
The five gangland murders in Utrecht and Amsterdam were nicknamed the “Mocro Maffia” wars, which inspired a fictional Dutch TV crime series, involving Moroccan-origin gangsters.
The main suspects in those killings are two Dutch gangland figures of Moroccan origin: Ridouan Taghi and Said Razzouki.
The EU police agency Europol lists them among Europe’s “most wanted fugitives”.