Three members of the Dutch Army’s Commando Corps were shot outside an Indianapolis hotel over the weekend, and the Dutch government has expressed its alarm at the incident. There was a loss of life among the troops.
On Tuesday, Kajsa Ollongren, the Dutch minister of defense, met with her European counterparts. After the meeting in Prague, she was quoted in The Washington Post as saying that the situation in the Netherlands’ “most important ally” had worsened.
We train a lot of our troops in the States, and something like this is extremely unlikely to occur during any of those sessions. This is quite worrying to us,” Ms. Ollongren said.
The Dutch Ministry of Defense reported on Monday that 26-year-old Simmie Poetsema had passed away the night before “surrounded by family and colleagues.”
Saturday morning, he was one of three Commando Corps troops from the Dutch army who were shot outside a hotel while on a break from training in southern Indiana.
In light of the shooting in Indianapolis over the weekend, which left one Dutch soldier dead and two others injured, Dutch Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren voiced his concerns about gun violence in the United States on Tuesday.
We don’t anticipate this happening, as our personnel undergo extensive training in the United States. This causes us extreme worry. Speaking at a conference of European Union defense ministers in Prague, Ollongren made the remarks to The Associated Press.
The Dutch Defense Ministry announced in a statement on Monday that a 26-year-old member of the Dutch Commando Corps, later named by U.S. authorities as Simmie Poetsema, had passed away “surrounded by family and colleagues.”
After what police in Indianapolis think was a commotion early Saturday morning near numerous downtown pubs and nightclubs, Poetsema and the two other troops were shot outside the hotel where they were staying, authorities said. The military personnel were in the United States for training purposes at a base in southern Indiana.
On Monday, Mayor Joe Hogsett of Indianapolis reported that the troops had returned to the hotel after a “scuffle” at a bar and were outside when they were shot in what he described as “a drive-by shooting.”
Indy police on Tuesday did not validate Hogsett’s story or provide any other details about the incident or the investigation. There have been no reported arrests.
While investigations are ongoing, Ollongren has declined to comment on the shooting. According to her, the Dutch military police have “excellent interaction” with the local authorities in Indianapolis.
We have heard the mayor’s comments and read reports in the media, but we believe it is crucial to conduct our own independent investigation. So until then, we won’t be making any further statements about what transpired,” she explained.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reportedly reached out to Ollongren on Monday “to offer his regrets and sympathies,” as Ollongren put it.
When asked about the safety of the city’s downtown, Hogsett stated he had confidence in the efforts being made by local leaders to curb crime.
Hogsett lamented that “people pulling out weapons and shooting each other” had become the norm for settling disputes everywhere, not just in Indianapolis.