The streets of Schaerbeek are nice but dangerous. EPA/LAURENT DUBRULE


Man shot in head as violence hits Brussels again


A man was shot in the head and left for dead on the terrace of a café in Brussels as extreme violence once again broke out in the city.

The shooting took place around 10.30pm in the rue Joseph Brand in Schaerbeek on April 28, leaving the victim fighting for life.

Solice spokeswoman Audrey Dereymaeker said: “When the emergency services arrived at the scene, they found a man injured by gunfire. The victim was in mortal danger.

“The police notified the public prosecutor’s office, which visited the scene with an investigating judge. The investigation is ongoing and the police will not comment further.”

Security footage of the incident, in which the man apparently suffered two gunshot wounds to the head, was shown on TV news programme RTL info .

It shows a figure in a hoodie approaching the victim, who was sat down, from behind and who then takes out a firearm and shoots several times before running off, leaving the injured man motionless chair as blood pools beneath him.

The latest incident came as Brussels has been suffering an increase in violence, often connected to drug dealers, according to police.

In February, four separate shootings in a short space of time and all around the same location left one man dead.

Saint-Gilles Mayor Jean Spinette, of the Socialist Party, told La Première radio station at the time that drug dealers had “taken the city hostage”.

He said rival gangs often used such “terror techniques”.

“They fire in the air with a weapon of war to frighten others, in the context of a turf war.”

Spinette said that while police arrested alleged dealers, according to him often “undocumented or minors, or both”, prosecutors then simply “release them”.

He said that resulted in Brussels effectively suffering under what he called “drug capitalism”, where Mafia-type organisations hold the reins of power and the local population is scared of gangsters.

The rise in violent crime led MEPS to sign an open letter to Belgian interior minister Annelies Verlinden and Brussels Minister-President Rudi Vervoort. The MEPs expressed their “deepest concerns on the deteriorating security situation in Brussels”.

In the document, they demanded “swift action” so people “in the capital of the EU feel safe and secure”.

Public transport in the city has also struggled with rising crime and increased efforts have been made to create enhance safety, particularly in train stations.

To many though, these attempts are primarily cosmetic and complaints about a lack of security remain an issue.