Dutch Crime Reporter Peter R. de Vries
Dutch Crime Reporter Peter R. de Vries

Well-known crime reporter Peter R. de Vries is “fighting for his life” after being shot in the center of Amsterdam on Tuesday night. Delaney Tarr reports on the shooting. 

Prominent Dutch crime reporter  Peter R. de Vries was shot in the head on Tuesday night after leaving a television studio in the center of Amsterdam, according to police. 

News reports said an attacker fired five shots at de Vries, leaving the journalist with a gunshot wound to the head. Crowds gathered around de Vries and images circulated online

Dutch police have said in a statement that two suspects– a 35-year-old Polish national living in Maurik and a 21-year-old man living in Rotterdam– have been taken into custody in relation to the shooting. The two will be arraigned on Friday. 

Meanwhile, de Vries is in critical condition. 

“He was seriously wounded and is fighting for his life,” Amsterdam Mayor Femke Halsema said in a televised news conference, “He is a national hero to us all. A rare, courageous journalist who tirelessly sought justice.”

De Vries, 64, is an award winning crime reporter, an Emmy recipient for his 2008 coverage of a missing teenager and best known for his work reporting on the 1983 abduction of beer magnate Freddy Heineken.

News reports said de Vries has previously received threats for his high profile reporting on the criminal world. Authorities are investigating the motivation of the recent shooting.

The Dutch Prime Minister and President of the European Council both condemned the attack, and reaffirmed stances in defense of the free press. 

The Committee to Protect Journalists released a statement on the shooting. 

“Dutch authorities should swiftly and thoroughly investigate the shooting of crime reporter Peter R. de Vries, determine if he was targeted for his work, and ensure that the attacker and the masterminds of the attack face justice,” said Tom Gibson, CPJ’s European Union representative. 

Gibson added, “Journalists in the EU must be able to investigate crime and corruption without fearing for their safety.”

The deaths of journalists globally has long raised the question of the safety of the free press, and the shooting in Amsterdam shows that even in the democratic EU journalists are under threat. It begs the question– are reporters taking on crime and corruption safe anywhere in the world?