Little Bits of History

Shooter in Belgium

Posted in History by patriciahysell on December 13, 2015
Nordine Amrani*

Nordine Amrani*

December 13, 2011: Liège, Belgium comes under attack. It was a normal Tuesday with Saint-Lambert Square filled with holiday shoppers frequenting the nearby Christmas market. At 12.33 PM, chaos erupted when three stun grenades were lobbed into the center. A grenade went off near the courthouse and another exploded by a bus shelter. After the first volley of grenades ended, gunshots began to pepper the courtyard. Police arrived and quickly cordoned off the area. The shooter had been atop a local bakery and firing a 7.62 mm FN FAL rifle from there. Five people were killed and 125 more were wounded, seven of them seriously. Then, Nordine Amrani turned  his Smith & Wesson M57.41 Magnum on himself and committed suicide.

It was discovered that he had already killed Antonietta Racano (45) at his home before he headed to the Square. Two teenaged boys died at the scene. A 17-month-old boy died at the hospital. A 75 year old woman died two days later from her wounds and a 20 year old man died on December 23. Amrani was a French speaking native of Belgium from a Moroccan family. He was orphaned at an early age and raised in foster homes. According to his lawyer, he could not speak Arabic and was not a Muslim. He had a lifelong fascination with guns. He was a welder by trade.

He had a history of convictions for possession of weapons and had been released from prison in October 2010. He had been sentenced to 58 months in prison in 2008 and did not serve his full term. He had been found guilty of possession of thousands of weapon parts, nearly 10,000 rounds of ammunition, dozens of intact weapons which included a rocket launcher as well as sniper and assault rifles. He was also in possession of 2,800 cannabis plants. His previous convictions were for handling stolen goods as well as sex offenses. He was not known for any association with terrorist groups. On the day of the attack, Amrani had been summoned for an interview with police. He was to be questioned about a sexual abuse case.

Before he came to the square, he took all his money from his bank account and put it in his fiancé’s account. Racano was cleaning a neighbor’s apartment and he lured her into his own apartment and killed her. He then hid her body in a shed. His weapons were in a backpack as he headed into the city. The attacks rocked the nation and the Prime Minister, King, and Queen all made appearances at the square to share in the shock and disbelief as well as to offer condolences. The mayor of the city also spoke on behalf of the injured and the appalling nature of the crime. Governments from around the globe also offered their sympathies.

Nordine Amrani committed suicide with a bullet to the head. He left no message to explain his act. – Daniele Reynders

The entire country feels the pain. – Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo

He liked arms and had a record but he was a very poised, very calm man. – Abdelhadi Amrani (former lawyer, not related)

We’re afraid of returning to the square. You can’t imagine a drama like this taking place on such a busy square, a place we all go to all the time. – a local woman, the next day

Also on this day: Maximum Insecurity – In 2000, seven violent offenders escaped from the John Connally Unit, a maximum security prison in Texas.
Cheaters – In 2007, the Mitchell Report was released.
Get Rael – In 1973, the Elohim revealed themselves to a human.
Tasman – In 1642, New Zealand was discovered by Europeans.
Nanking Falls – In 1937, the Chinese city fell.

* “Nordine Amrani” by Amoklauf im belgischen Lüttich, Die Welt (December 13, 2011). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –


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