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Police fatally shoot patient at Brussels psychiatric facility

20:22 22/03/2023

A patient at a psychiatric clinic in the Brussels neighbourhood of Uccle has died in hospital after being shot by police responding to a disturbance.

Police were called to the Fond'Roy clinic to intervene in a situation which staff said they could not manage. It involved the victim, who was said to be aggressive.

“According to the first elements of the investigation, the patient in question, aged 49, was carrying a knife,” the Brussels public prosecutor's office said in a press release.

“A first patrol arrived on the scene and had to call in reinforcements immediately because of the state of agitation and the threat that the individual presented.

"During the course of the operations, the police officers involved were required to use their weapons.”

The individual was shot in the arm and then in the abdomen. He was taken directly to a hospital where he died of his injuries about an hour later.

“The man was hospitalised under duress, according to the law of 26 June 1990 on the protection of mentally ill persons, and the team had to call in the police in the morning to help control him during an episode of major agitation,” explained Dr Caroline Depuydt, deputy general medical director of the ASBL Epsylon, which runs the Fond'Roy site.

The Brussels public prosecutor's office came to the scene later with a ballistics expert and other professionals to examine the circumstances of what happened. An official investigation has been opened.

“The police assistance service for victims announced the bad news to the victim's family, and psychological assistance was offered to the police officers, who were shocked by these events,” added the public prosecutor.

A few hours after the death, the Fond'Roy psychiatric clinic reacted in a statement: “Our priority is to bring calm to the department, which has been badly shaken by this dramatic event.

"The establishment has set up an urgent psychological assistance unit to help and support workers who may need it.”

Photo: Laurie Dieffembacq/Belga

Written by Helen Lyons