A Dutch crime reporter named Peter R. de Vries was attacked in Amsterdam on Tuesday night, surprising the country and making international headlines. The reporter, 64, is in critical condition after being attacked by a gunman. De Vries was apparently injured by a gunshot to the head, but the wound was not fatal.
The news broke alongside the viral spread of social media videos showing the aftermath of the attack. Police wrote that while he is in serious condition, he is being treated at a nearby hospital.
The shocking crime drew a swift response from Dutch authorities. Prime Minister Mark Rutte called the incident “an attack on a brave journalist and with that an attack on free journalism,” condemning the violence in the strongest terms.
Authorities in Amsterdam have reportedly made three arrests in the case, and they claim that one of the suspects could be the gunman. The authorities haven’t given any explanation as to the motive behind the crime, but it’s not difficult to imagine why de Vries was targeted.
De Vries is famous in the Netherlands for his role as the host of a crime show, where he regularly helps investigators research cold cases. He has told reporters before that his job entails numerous death threats, which he has learned to mostly shrug off.
Recently, de Vries has had an even larger profile thanks to his role as a key witness in an ongoing organized crime case in the Netherlands. The case is seeking to pin the leadership of a Dutch gang on a defendant named Ridouan Taghi, though he maintains he is innocent and has no connection to organized crime.
The Netherlands is home to organized crime due to its geography. The country’s ports are used to import contraband into Europe, leading to constant infighting among organized crime organizations over who can control the shipping routes.
The sudden attack on de Vries is tragic, but not surprising. A lawyer in the Taghi case named Derk Wiersum was murdered in 2019 due to his role in representing a key witness for the prosecution.
At the time of this writing, de Vries was said to be in “critical” condition in an Amsterdam hospital. Femke Halsema, the mayor of Amsterdam, told reporters that de Vries was “fighting for his life.”