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Dutch Crime Reporter Dies of Gunshot Wounds

A picture of journalist Peter R. de Vries and flowers mark the spot where he was shot in Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 8, 2021. De Vries died of his injuries Thursday.

A well-known Dutch crime reporter who was shot last week in Amsterdam has died.

A statement from the family of Peter R. de Vries said the journalist “fought to the end but was unable to win the battle."

"Peter has lived by his conviction: 'On bended knee is no way to be free,'" the statement said. "We are unbelievably proud of him, and at the same time, inconsolable."

"Peter R. de Vries was always dedicated, tenacious, afraid of nothing and no one. Always seeking the truth and standing up for justice," Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte said in a tweet. "And that makes it all the more dramatic that he himself has now become the victim of a great injustice."

De Vries, 64, was struck in the head by one of five rounds fired as he left a television studio on July 6.

Police arrested two suspects in connection with the shooting — a 21-year-old Dutchman suspected of being the shooter, and a 35-year-old Polish man accused of driving the getaway car.

De Vries is a household name in the Netherlands, known for confronting gangsters and drug kingpins, and helping police disentangle high-profile homicides and solving cold cases like that of 11-year-old Nicky Verstappen, whose 1998 murder went unsolved for over 20 years. De Vries is also famed for his coverage of the abduction of brewing magnate Freddy Heineken in the 1980s.

The reporter has long lived with death threats. Earlier this year, he told a magazine he wasn’t afraid, saying, “That’s part of the job.”

Local media say De Vries recently had been counseling a gangster-turned-witness identified as Nabil B., in the murder and racketeering trial of suspected drug kingpin Ridouan Taghi. One of Nabil B.’s lawyers was killed 18 months ago, and some Dutch media questioned whether the murder is linked to Taghi’s trial.

The attack on De Vries came just months after TV crime reporter Giorgos Karaivaz was fatally shot outside his home in Athens. He was struck by at least half-a-dozen shots in April fired by a passenger on a motorbike.

In February 2018, Slovak investigative reporter Ján Kuciak and his fiancée, Martina Kušnírová, were found shot to death in their home in Veľká Mača, western Slovakia. The 27-year-old reporter had been probing economic crimes involving high-profile Slovak businessmen with ties to politicians.