Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Day 92° Clear
News >  Nation/World

Thousands pay last respects to slain Dutch reporter

UPDATED: Wed., July 21, 2021

Associated Press

AMSTERDAM — Thousands of people paid their last respects to slain crime reporter Peter R. de Vries on Wednesday, some standing in line for hours under a hot summer sun to get a brief glimpse of his coffin at an Amsterdam theater.

De Vries died last Thursday at age 64 after being shot on an Amsterdam street on July 6 following one of his regular appearances on a Dutch television show, an attack that sent shockwaves through the Netherlands.

De Vries’ white coffin, surrounded by flowers and next to a framed shirt of Amsterdam soccer club Ajax, could be viewed all day at the Royal Carre Theater. A huge photo of De Vries hung on the building’s facade alongside the text “On bended knee is no way to be free.”

De Vries was the Netherlands’ most famous crime journalist, reporting on and writing a bestselling book about the 1983 kidnapping of beer magnate Freddy Heineken and campaigning tirelessly to resolve cold cases and clear the names of wrongfully convicted people.

Two suspects were arrested shortly after his shooting and remain in custody. Dutch police said the suspected gunman is a 21-year-old Dutchman, and a 35-year-old Polish man living in the Netherlands is accused of driving the getaway car.

“I thought he was a very special man. He could be very hard, but he could also be very soft,” said Marieke Los, 37, who stood in line waiting to go into the theater carrying a picture drawn by her young son of a detective’s magnifying glass surrounded by a heart.

Gwayne Rutu traveled from the nearby town of Almere to pay his respects.

“I think he put on a great example for all the people in the Netherlands, for all the people in Amsterdam, I think for all the people in the world with this … kind of work,” he said. “So I don’t know if you’ll see another one of him, but he put on a great example to follow.”

De Vries recently had been an adviser and confidant for a witness in the trial of the alleged leader and other members of a crime gang that police described as an “oiled killing machine.”

The suspected gangland leader, Ridouan Taghi, was extradited to the Netherlands from Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2019. He remains jailed while standing trial along with 16 other suspects.

A private funeral was planned Thursday for family and friends.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.