Suspect in parade attack dies, leaving motive for act unknown

Flowers and notes were left at the crash site yesterday to honor the six victims. Flowers and notes were left at the crash site yesterday to honor the six victims. (Koen Van Weel/Afp/Getty Images)
Associated Press / May 2, 2009
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AMSTERDAM - The man who drove his car into a crowd of parade spectators and killed six people died of his injuries yesterday, leaving unresolved the mystery of why he tried to attack the Dutch royal family.

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.

Hours after his death, the Defense Ministry announced that a 55-year-old driver for the military police, Roel Nijenhuis, also died of his injuries. Five bystanders died on Thursday.

Nijenhuis was on duty during the parade, said a statement from the service commander, Lieutenant General Dick van Putten. He had driven a military police band to the parade and was watching the festivities when he was hit.

Ten other people were hurt when the man rammed his small black 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.

"It is very difficult now that we no longer have the suspect to reconstruct what was behind this," said Fred de Graaf, they mayor of Apeldoorn where the incident occurred.

"An element of uncertainty will remain because you can no longer question the suspect," he said yesterday.

Dutch media, citing neighbors, said Tates recently was fired from his job as a security guard and was to be evicted from his home in the small eastern town of Huissen.