Man who attacked Dutch royals dies

12 hurt as man rams car through barricades toward open-topped bus carrying Queen Beatrix, several other members of royal family; motive unclear.

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May 1, 2009 14:42
2 minute read.
Man who attacked Dutch royals dies

holland car 248 88. (photo credit: AP)

 
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The man who drove his car into a crowd of parade spectators and killed five in an attempted attack on the Dutch royal family died early Friday of his injuries, prosecutors said. The 38-year-old suspect, identified by Dutch media as Karst Tates, had been in critical condition since the attack Thursday on Queen's Day, the Dutch national holiday. Eleven other people were hurt when he rammed his car through police barricades toward an open-topped bus carrying Queen Beatrix and several other members of the royal family. He told one of the first police officers to rush to his car that the attack was aimed at the royal family, prosecutor Ludo Goossens said Thursday. But the motive was unclear. Prosecutors said the suspect's death ended the criminal investigation against him, but that they would continue to investigate whether he acted alone. Prosecutors have not released his name, in line with Dutch privacy laws. "So far there are no indications" anybody else was involved, prosecutors said in a statement. Police who searched the man's house Thursday "found no weapons, explosives or indications of other suspects," prosecutors said. No links with terrorism or ideological groups were immediately uncovered, they said. The attack prompted officials to review security arrangements for the royal family's public appearances, beginning with Memorial Day next Monday commemorating Dutch victims of World War II, followed Tuesday by Liberation Day festivities. The state broadcaster NOS said the 71-year-old monarch would attend at least the main memorial ceremony as planned. The queen and her son Crown Prince Willem-Alexander seldom hesitate to approach the crowds on holidays, especially on Queen's Day, when the members of the House of Orange are the focus of attention. Now, the attack raised questions about "whether Queen's Day can ever again be celebrated in the way we Dutch are accustomed to - with as its most important feature the closeness of the queen, her family and the Dutch public," said De Volkskrant daily. On Friday, people laid bouquets of flowers at the scene of the attack, lit candles in Apeldoorn's church and signed a condolence register at Apeldoorn city hall for the victims. The failed attack on the immensely popular royal family played out live on nationwide television during coverage of the queen's bus trip to her palace Het Loo in the eastern city of Apeldoorn. Friday newspapers and Web sites featured photos of the carnage wreaked by his small black car as it plowed through crowds of people hoping to catch a glimpse of the royals. The car came to a halt when it slammed into a stone monument just yards (meters) from the royal bus. A shaken Queen Beatrix extended her sympathies to the victims in a brief nationally televised address Thursday. "What began as a great day has ended in a terrible tragedy that has shocked us all deeply," she said. Dutch media, citing neighbors, said Tates recently was fired from his job and was to be evicted from his home. Police said he had no history of mental illness or police record. Officials in Apeldoorn said he had a map of the queen's route. Officials had said that in addition to the dead, 12 people had been inurued, but on Friday said the driver had been counted among them. Celebrations were canceled for Queen's Day, the national holiday that draws millions of people to street dances, picnics and outdoor parties around the country. Flags were lowered to half staff. ___

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