ALPHEN AAN DEN RIJN, Netherlands (AP) — A gunman opened fire with an automatic weapon at a crowded shopping mall outside Amsterdam on Saturday, leaving at least six people dead and wounding 11 others, Dutch officials said.
The attacker was among the dead in the shooting at the Ridderhof mall in Alphen aan den Rijn, Mayor Bas Eenhoorn said. The suburb is less than 15 miles (25 kilometers) southwest of Amsterdam.
Four of the wounded were in critical condition, five were in serious condition and at least two others were slightly wounded, Eenhoorn said.
A witness identified as Maart Verbeek told state broadcaster NOS the attacker had a machine gun and appeared to be shooting at random.
"There was a panic in the mall, a lot of people running," said Verbeek, a pet shop owner. "I see the attacker coming, walking, and I go inside the store ... and I see him going by with a big machine gun."
Hours after the shooting, residents continued to walk past the mall, some of whom appeared to be in a daze.
"You hear about this sort of thing happening at American schools and you think that's a long way away," said Rob Kuipers, 50, a project manager. "Now it's happened here in the Netherlands."
Investigators were trying to determine the shooter's identity, the mayor said. Eyewitnesses said he had long blond hair, appeared to be about 25 years old, and wore a leather jacket with camouflage pants.
With his voice choking at times, Eenhoorn described the incident as a "disaster of unparalleled proportions" for Alphen, known as a quiet suburb, and it was all the more shocking because it took place on one of the first sunny days of spring.
"Under these circumstances, with many people shopping at the Ridderhof today, including parents with children, it's an incomprehensible situation," he said.
Toby Sterling contributed to this report from Amsterdam.