Amsterdam, 15 July 2021 (dpa/MIA) – Leading Dutch crime reporter Peter R de Vries has died from injuries sustained in a targeted gun attack earlier this month in Amsterdam, his family said on Thursday.
“Peter fought until the end, but he could not win the fight,” his family said in a statement.
The 64-year-old was shot five times in a street in the middle of Amsterdam after leaving a television studio on July 6.
De Vries was a celebrated crime reporter in the Netherlands and regularly appeared in court as a spokesperson for victims or witnesses at trials.
The shooting has been widely attributed to organized crime in the Netherlands.
Politicians and colleagues responded to the news of his death with dismay.
Dozens of people on Thursday gathered at the spot where he was killed in Amsterdam. Hundreds of bunches of flowers and candles have been placed at the site.
Two men were arrested hours after the attack, a 35-year-old Polish citizen living in the south-east of the Netherlands and a 21-year-old from Rotterdam.
One is thought to have carried out the shooting, although the police have not yet provided further details.
There are indications that the shooting was related to de Vries’ work.
He was the confidant of the key witness in a major criminal case against a drugs gang. The key witness’ brother and defence lawyer were killed in 2019.
De Vries had been threatened in the past but had declined personal protection.
Politicians around the world condemned the shooting as an attack on press freedom and the rule of law, and news associations demanded the case be fully investigated.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she was “deeply saddened” by the news.
“Investigative journalists are vital to our democracies. We must do everything we can to protect them,” von der Leyen tweeted.
De Vries, already a household name in the Netherlands thanks to his regular talk-show appearances, became known internationally after writing a bestseller about the kidnapping of beer magnate Freddy Heineken.
In 2008, he won an Emmy Award for his reporting on the case of Natalee Holloway, a woman from the US who disappeared in Aruba in 2005 and was thought to have been killed by a Dutchman.