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Shooting in Saint Gilles leaves two dead, three injured

10:36 28/06/2024

A shooting in Saint-Gilles left two people dead and three injured early on Thursday morning, according to police reports.

The shooting occurred shortly after 1.00 in a cafe on Rue Argonne, near Brussels-Midi station.

While the exact circumstances are not yet clear, initial reports from police indicate that one of the injured persons was only minorly hurt, but the other two are in more serious condition.

No perpetrator has been apprehended yet.

The Brussels public prosecutor's office has opened an investigation and will release further information as it becomes available.

A local resident who lives directly opposite the café reported hearing “automatic gunshots” and another local resident said he had heard that the perpetrators arrived on a scooter and fired shots towards the café terrace.

“They were also spotted during the day, behaving suspiciously,” the witness said.

Saint-Gilles mayor Jean Spinette (PS) said the cafe had been closed in the past because it was a nuisance in the neighbourhood, but added: “It's an establishment that's not known for this sort of thing. It's a place where there's never been a problem or anything like drug trafficking.”

Still, a local resident claimed drugs were sold inside the cafe, and said gunshots were fired at a business across the street last month.

“We know that crack is regularly dealt in the neighbourhood,” Spinette conceded. “The dealers and users cause a lot of nuisance in the neighbourhood.

"We’ve already taken measures against that, several arrests took place and a lot of drugs were seized. We will communicate the results of that soon."

Residents and workers in the Brussels-Midi area have been speaking out about deteriorating safety in the neighbourhood for some time.

The area was identified this year by the Brussels regional authorities as one of the 15 “hotspots” for drug trafficking.

In recent years, Belgium has seen an increase in armed violence linked to rivalry between drug trafficking networks.

Shootings have occurred in both Brussels and Antwerp, whose port has become the main route into Europe for cocaine imported illegally from South America.

Photo: Nicolas Maeterlinck/Belga

Written by Helen Lyons


Paul Adamson

There are always plenty of police to provide motorcycle escorts to VIPs while incidents like this happen more and more in the ‘communes’…my local police station in Ixelles is now virtually closed and I no longer see any police in the neighbourhood (except the aforementioned VIP escorts to the posh hotels and occasional speed traps on Ave Louise).

Jun 28, 2024 11:17