The suspect in the fatal stabbing of a Belgian police officer was on a security agency list of radicalised Muslims and had been taken to a psychiatric ward hours before the attack, prosecutors said on Friday.
They said the officer died after the police car he was driving was attacked on Thursday evening in northern Brussels while it waited at a red light.
He was stabbed in the neck and a second officer in the arm, prosecutors’ spokesman Eric Van Der Sypt told a news conference.
“The passenger managed to call for assistance by radio and … stated the attacker had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest),” he said, adding that the suspect – a 32-year old Belgian national – was on the list of radicalised Muslims held by national security agency OCAD/OCAM .
The 29-year old driver died of his wounds in hospital while the 23-year old passenger was in stable condition following surgery, the spokesman said.
The suspect had gone to a police station earlier on Thursday in a “mentally disturbed” state asking for help, the prosecutors said.
Police took him to the psychiatric ward of a local hospital but later heard he had left again as there were no grounds to hold him against his will.
The suspect was shot and wounded by police officers shortly after the stabbing and taken to hospital, where he will be questioned once his recovery allows.
“Our police officers risk their lives every day to ensure the safety of our citizens. Today’s drama demonstrates this once again,” Prime Minister Alexander De Croo wrote on Twitter.