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Prosecutors believe accused in Utrecht tram shooting had 'terrorist motive'

The accused in a shooting this week on a Dutch tram that left three people dead is believed to have acted with terrorist intent, and authorities are also investigating whether he had other personal motives, prosecutors said Thursday.

Dutch authorities also investigating whether suspect had other personal motives

Dutch prosecutors are also investigating whether Tanis had other personal motives. (Police Utrecht/Associated Press)

The accused in a shooting this week on a Dutch tram that left three people dead is believed to have acted with terrorist intent, and authorities are also investigating whether he had other personal motives, prosecutors said Thursday.

Prosecutors said they believe Turkish-born Gokmen Tanis, 37, acted alone Monday in the shooting in the city of Utrecht, but the investigation is ongoing.

"We are investigating whether the suspect acted solely from a terrorist motive, or whether his actions came out of personal problems in combination with a radicalized ideology," the prosecutors said in a statement.

Tanis will be charged with offences, including multiple murder or manslaughter with a terrorist intent, they said. 

Tanis is to appear before an investigating judge on Friday — such hearings are held behind closed doors — and will undergo psychological examination.

A 40-year-old man who was also detained in the shooting is still under investigation to establish "if he possibly had a supporting role, outside the shooting incident," prosecutors said.

Shooting raised alert level for a time

Two men and a woman were killed and three people were seriously wounded. Authorities put the fourth largest city in the Netherlands in lockdown for hours amid fears more than one shooter was active at different locations.

The terror alert level also was raised from Level 4 to the maximum Level 5 during the manhunt. It was dropped back to 4 once the suspect was detained.

Prosecutors have said they were focused on a possible terrorist motive because of the nature of the shooting — none of the victims was known to the alleged shooter — and a note was found in a getaway car. They have not disclosed what was written in the note.

A silent march is planned for Friday evening in Utrecht to commemorate the victims.

With files from The Associated Press