Police said three suspects, including a possible shooter, have been taken into custody. He declined to provide any details.
“He was seriously injured and is fighting for his life,” Amsterdam mayor Femke Halsema told a televised news conference. “He is a national hero to all of us. A rare, courageous journalist who tirelessly demanded justice.”
Police surrounded the area of the shooting near downtown Leedsplein Square. They are collecting video footage, statements of witnesses and forensic evidence.
In 2008, de Vries won an International Emmy Award in the Current Affairs category for his work investigating the 2005 disappearance of teenager Natalie Holloway in Aruba.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Root called the attack “shocking and incomprehensible”. It was an attack on a courageous journalist and also an attack on the free press which is very important for our democracy.
“We are praying that he will survive,” he said.
Dutch broadcaster RTL said that De Vries had just left his studio in the city of Amsterdam when one in five shots hit him in the head.
Amsterdam’s Parul newspaper published a picture of the scene in which several people gathered around a man lying on the ground.
De Vries, 64, is a celebrity in the Netherlands, a frequent commentator on both television crime programs and an expert crime reporter with sources from both law enforcement and the underworld.
He is known in the Netherlands for his investigative work on countless cases, most notably after the 1983 kidnapping of beer magnate Freddy Heineken.
De Vries has received threats from the criminal underworld in the past in connection with several cases.
In 2013 Heineken kidnapper Willem Hollider was convicted of making threats against de Vries. Hollider is currently serving a life sentence for his involvement in five murders.
In 2019, Ridouan Taghi, currently on trial for murder and drug trafficking, took the unusual step of making a public statement, denying reports that he had threatened to kill de Vries.
De Vries is acting as a counsel, but not a lawyer, for a state witness identified as Nabil B, who testified in the case against Taghi and his alleged associates.
Nabil B’s previous lawyer was shot dead on a street in Amsterdam in September 2019.