The knife-wielding man stabbed two police officers Tuesday in the Belgian city of Liege, stole their weapons and shot them and a bystander dead in an attack that prosecutors fear could be terror-related.
Liege prosecutors' spokesman Philippe Dulieu said the man approached two police officers from behind carrying a knife and stabbed them several times.
After killing the two police officers, the attacker continued walking through the street and opened fire on a parked vehicle, fatally wounding the driver inside, Dulieu added.
After shooting the two police officers outside a cafe, the gunman fled to the Lycee Waha school, where he briefly took a hostage, according to officials.
As he tried to leave the school he was shot and killed by police.
The incident is being probed as a terrorist attack.
Interior minister Jan Jambon said the anti-terrorist crisis centre was monitoring the situation which began to unfold at around 8.30am GMT.
The assailant is suspected of being radicalised in prison by Islamist militants.
Liege police chief Christian Beaupere said it was "clear that the assassin's objective was to attack the police".
He was understood to have been on day release from prison - after being jailed for drug offences - at the time of his rampage.
Nevertheless, Belgium's crisis center said the country's terror threat alert would not be raised and remained at level 2 out of 4.
Belgian King Philippe and Prime Minister Charles Michel visited the scene hours after the attack.
The murders of police officers Lucile Garcia, 45, and Soraya Belkacemi, 53, and 22-year-old Cyril Vangriecken has sent shock waves through the small nation.
Images on social media appeared to showed people running to safety on Liege's central boulevard d'Avroy, with shots and sirens being heard in the background.
Belgium was then hit by its own IS suicide attacks on Brussels airport and a metro station which killed 32 people in 2016.
Prosecutors said that the gunman had been killed, but that two officers and one other person had lost their lives.
Liege, a major city in Belgium's former industrial heartland, was the scene of another bloody shootout in 2011 when a former convict armed with grenades and an automatic rifle killed six people and wounded more than 120. The Daily Mail's telling has Herman sneaking up on police, which would make sense for a planned attack, where other media reports have the police saying that the two officers stopped Herman and initiated the incident.
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