The Dutch defence minister has expressed concern at gun violence in the US after a shooting in Indianapolis over the weekend that left one Dutch soldier dead and two wounded.
“We do many trainings of our servicemen in the United States, and we really don’t expect this to happen. So it’s very, very concerning for us,” Kajsa Ollongren said at a meeting of EU defence ministers in Prague on Tuesday.
A 26-year-old member of the Dutch Commando Corps, identified by US authorities as Simmie Poetsema, died of his injuries on Sunday night “surrounded by family and colleagues” after the shooting, the Dutch defence ministry said in a statement on Monday.
Poetsema and the two other soldiers were shot after what Indianapolis police believe was a disturbance outside the hotel where they were staying at about 3.30am local time (0830 BST) on Saturday near several downtown bars and nightclubs, authorities said.
The soldiers were in the US for training at a military base in southern Indiana.
Ollongren declined to comment on the shooting while investigations continue. She said there was “good contact” between Dutch military police and authorities in Indianapolis.
“We have read things in the media, we have heard what the mayor said but we feel it’s very important to have a real thorough investigation. So we’re waiting for that until we comment on what actually happened,” she said.
Ollongren said the US defence secretary, Lloyd Austin, had contacted her on Monday “to express his regrets and his condolences”.
Indianapolis police released no additional information on Monday about the circumstances of the shooting. No arrests have been announced.