Tuesday, 7 May, 2002
An elderly Belgian man, known locally for his racist
views, has shot dead two Moroccan neighbours in a poor area of Brussels.
Police say 79-year-old Hendrik Vyt killed the couple
living in an apartment below him, and wounded two of their children.
The man then set fire to his own apartment, and was
killed in a gun battle with police.
Mr Vyt had recently been released from prison, where
he had been serving a short sentence for wounding a local youth.
Le Pen fan, 79, kills Moroccan
Police shoot suspect: Rage apparently
set off by politician's election loss
Agence France-Presse, Reuters
BRUSSELS - An elderly man said to be
upset at the defeat of politician Jean-Marie Le Pen in France's
presidential election killed two Moroccan neighbours yesterday and
wounded two of their children, police said.
Hendrik Vyt, 79, shot Ahmed Isiyasni
and his wife Abiba El Hajji, who lived in the apartment below his, and
wounded two of their five children, one seriously. Then he set fire to
the building in the Belgian capital's low-rent Schaerbeek district.
The murderer was fatally shot by
police, who returned fire when he shot from his window at their patrol
cars as they arrived at the burning building.
He used a 9mm pistol.
Firefighters called to the scene
around 4 a.m. said they found the bodies of the couple and their two
wounded children on the second floor. A neighbour who tried to intervene
was wounded in the leg.
Mr. Vyt's badly burned body was found
in his apartment.
In 1999, the man was convicted of
violence against a minor and served three months in jail, police said.
Belgian television reported he was due to appear in court on another
Marc Weber, an official of the heavily
immigrant Schaerbeek district, said Mr. Vyt "had the reputation of a
fanatical mercenary close to the extreme right."
Rita François, a neighbour, said Mr.
Vyt had been angry after Mr. Le Pen was defeated in the second round of
the French presidential election on Sunday.
"He said, 'It's not going well for [Le
Pen's] National Front. We're going to have to do it ourselves,' " she
told Belgian RTL television.
"It's likely that he had contacts with
the extreme-right Flemish Vlaams Blok party," added Mr. Weber.
"I met people this morning who lived
in the apartment below his [the same one occupied by the victims] who
moved because they considered him a dangerous nutter."
"This man terrorized the entire
neighbourhood with his German shepherd dog," said a neighbour who asked
not to be named.
"He insulted immigrants and bragged
that he had relations in high places. There were several complaints made
over his hatred for Arabs and for his threats," added another.
The Brussels prosecutor's office said
a police patrol was sent to the building on Monday after complaints of a
violent quarrel between Mr. Vyt and his neighbours, but no action was
"If that's confirmed, it would be a
tragedy and responsibility will need to be established," said Mr. Weber.