Last Thursday 12,000 residents of the West Flemish town of Waregem were told to stay in doors for several hours after the man that was believed to be carrying a real gun was spotted there. Earlier in the day the Vives College of Higher Education Campus was evacuated when the apparently armed 18-year-old was spotted there.
He was eventually apprehended by police in the village of Avelgem. The weapon that he was carrying was nothing more sinister than an airsoft pellet gun.
At an earlier hearing it was decided that he should remaining in custody. However, at Tuesday’s hearing magistrates decided to release him on condition that he is admitted to a psychiatric hospital for residential care.
After Thursday’s incident the man’s mother told VRT News that he has been suffering from mental health issues for some time. She added that help had been requested several times, but none had been given.
"It all started with small things: stealing bikes, vandalism, ... The Juvenile Magistrate was involved then and he was sent to a secure young offenders centre for a while”.
However, once he turned 18 the man’s family was told that he could be given no further help unless he sought it of his own volition.