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    Massive manhunt after police officer shot dead at traffic stop

    ©Belga
    ©Belga

    Police in the region of Spa in Liege province are currently carrying out a massive manhunt after a police officer was shot dead while responding to complaints about a disturbance in the town centre.

    The incident took place on Saturday evening. The two-man patrol car was responding to reports of a disturbance in the town centre. On arrival at the scene, shots were fired from a vehicle containing three occupants. One officer was hit, and the car made its escape. The 38-year-old officer, later named as Amaury Delrez, later died of his injuries.

    Other officers responding, including a helicopter, established a security perimeter, which has since been lifted. The street itself, Rue Reine Astrid, remains closed. A nearby forest, where according to witnesses at least one of the men took refuge, is being closely searched. The alleged shooter has been identified as Dutch national Ivo Thewissen.

    In a Tweet, federal home affairs minister Jan Jambon expressed his “deepest condolences” for the relatives of the dead officer, and offered his fullest support to his colleagues in their investigation.

    Meanwhile the search goes on. This article will be updated in the course of the day should developments take place.

    UPDATE: A suspect in the fatal shooting of a police officer in Spa on Saturday has been detained. The man is said to be aged between 20 and 30, according to the Belga news agency. No more information is available for the time being. 

    Meanwhile, it weas revealed that the patrol car in question was responding to a call regarding a dispute among customers of a cafe on the Avenue Reine Astrid. WHen they arrived, the police stopped a car with three occupats, one of whom shot inspector Delrez. A medevac helicopter was summoned, but arrived to late to save inspector Delrez. 

    The avenue has now been re-opened to traffic, following forensic examinations of the scene of the crime. This morning, the king attended the scene, together with home affairs minister Jambon. 

    “All of our thoughts go out to his colleagues and especially to his family,” Jambon said in a statement. “Once again we see how our police are present day and night to ensure our safety at the risk of their own lives. They deserve all of our respect.” 

    Alan Hope
    The Brussels Times