Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon has said that a man who shot dead two police officers and a bystander in Liege on Tuesday had already killed another person the day before the attack.
Jambon told broadcaster RTL Wednesday that the shooter, identified as Benjamin Herman, “also committed a murder the night before.”
Jambon confirmed that the person was a former inmate who did prison time with Herman. Herman is alleged to have killed the man on Monday evening by hitting him over the head with a blunt object.
Herman was killed in a shootout with police on Tuesday after stabbing two female police officers, stealing their handguns and shooting them. He also shot dead a man sitting in a nearby car.
Federal prosecutors said they had launched a terror investigation into the incident.
Belgium remains on high alert after a string of attacks, including twin suicide bombings in Brussels in 2016 claimed by the Islamic State group.
“Armed with a knife, the suspect followed and attacked two police officers, and used their own firearms to kill them,” prosecutor Philippe Dulieu told a news conference.
“He continued on foot, attacking a parked vehicle where he opened fire on a 22-year-old man in the passenger seat. The young man died.
“He then continued and entered the Leonie de Waha school. He took a woman working there as hostage. Police intervened, he came out firing on the police officers, wounding several before he was killed.”
A source close to the investigation told AFP that the gunman was on a special police watchlist because of his contacts with radical Islamists.
The source said Herman was born in 1982 and had past convictions for robbery, violence, and drug dealing.
He was reported by Belgian broadcaster RTBF to have been released from prison on Monday.
“He is suspected of having been radicalized [in prison]… He has been reported or presumed to be belonging to the entourage of an Islamist recruiter,” the source said on condition of anonymity.