One of three Dutch commandos who were shot early Saturday in the Indianapolis downtown entertainment district has tragically died.
The trio were all members of the special forces unit of the Royal Netherlands Army and reportedly had traveled to the U.S. to drill at the 1,000-acre Muscatatuck Urban Training Center in southern Indiana, a facility often used by the U.S. Department of Defense as well as America’s NATO allies.
Upon the arrival of police at the scene after the 3:30 a.m. shooting in Indy, the wounded soldiers who were members of the Korps Commandotroepen were transported to a local hospital, two of whom were in critical condition. The surviving victims may now be in stable condition.
The incident allegedly occurred during a disturbance outside the Hampton Inn.
“It is not something that occurred inside the hotel. It was a previous altercation, we believe, at another location. We’re still working through that with all of our witnesses,” a police offical said, according to Fox 59 Indianapolis.
The special forces operators reportedly were visiting Indianapolis during their downtime.
The Dutch Defense Ministry indicated that the soldier succumbed to his injuries on Sunday night “surrounded by family and colleagues.”
The ministry added that “the other two wounded soldiers were conscious and able to speak,” NBC News reported.
“The Dutch soldiers visited Indianapolis at the end of their duty day. Our thoughts and prayers are with the soldiers and families during this difficult time,” the Indiana National Guard said in a statement.
According to the Associated Press, “The Marion County coroner’s office in Indianapolis identified the victim as Simmie Poetsema, 26, but didn’t immediately release any additional information.”
The suspect or suspects are still at large. Authorities have asked the public for assistance in identifying them and have reportedly said they do not believe this was a random act.
In the meantime, detectives are reviewing surveillance video from nearby businesses with the hope of identifying individuals or a vehicle that may have been involved in the crime.
“Several panes of glass were busted out on one of the hotel’s doors. Two hotel employees said it happened during the shooting,” Fox 59 noted.
The Dutch soldiers may have been lodging at the Indy hotel, according to several media outlets, although the training center’s website indicates the possible availability of accommodations on the base, which is located approximately 40 miles southeast of Indy. This detail, if relevant, presumably will be subject to clarification as more information becomes available.
Watch a report aired on Sunday by Fox 59 on this disturbing, developing story:
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