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More shootings in Brussels leave one dead, one seriously injured

09:04 26/03/2024

There were two shootings in Brussels on Saturday night, leaving one person dead and one seriously injured.

Shots were fired during the night on Rue Steyls in Laeken and Rue des Plantes in Saint-Josse-Ten-Noode, the Brussels public prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Le Soir reports that the second victim is said to be brain-dead, according to a reliable source.

“When police arrived on the scene in Laeken, a 29-year-old man was found unconscious with serious gunshot wounds,” the statement from the prosecutor’s office reads.

“He died on the spot at 0.20, after first responders tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him.”

The Brussels public prosecutor's office referred this first case to an investigating magistrate on murder charges.

A judicial exclusion perimeter was set up, and the investigating judge arrived on the scene accompanied by the magistrate on duty from the public prosecutor's office, the federal police lab, a ballistics expert and a forensic doctor.

In Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, "police at the scene found a 28-year-old man with serious gunshot wounds", the prosecutor said.

"Once again, the Brussels public prosecutor's office immediately referred the case to an investigating magistrate on the grounds of attempted murder. The investigating magistrate went down to the scene."

The victim is currently hospitalised in critical condition and, at this stage, there is no indication that the two incidents are linked.

“Both investigations are being actively pursued in order to identify the perpetrator or perpetrators and to determine the exact circumstances,” the public prosecutor said.

A security zone was established and the police presence in the neighbourhoods was increased to reassure the population.

“Upon hearing the shots, I went to the window to see what was happening,” one local resident told Bruzz. “I then saw four people running away.”

According to another witness, an offender allegedly first kicked the victim before pulling the trigger. However, the Brussels prosecutor's office could not yet confirm this.

The family of one of the victims told news media that the deceased man is from Denderleeuw and does not live nearby.

“He has a job and would have nothing to do with the drug scene,” the family insisted.

However, according to Het Laatste Nieuws, the man is said to have a criminal record and is named in multiple drug cases.

Investigations into the perpetrators and the exact circumstances of the shootings are ongoing.

“In the interest of this, the public prosecutor's office does not wish to make any additional comments,” a statement reads.

Under pressure following mutiple high-profile gun violence incidents, local authorities unveiled a strategy at the end of February to counter this wave of violence, described as "unacceptable" by the Brussels region's head of security.

Written by Helen Lyons