Belgian police hold teen suspected of cutting mayor's throat

BRUSSELS (AP) — Belgian authorities on Tuesday were questioning a teenager suspected of killing a city mayor in a cemetery overnight by slashing his throat with a box cutter.

Alfred Gadenne, the mayor of Mouscron in western Belgium, was found dead early Monday evening in a cemetery near his home. Gadenne, 71, opened and closed the graveyard each day.

A spokesman for the regional Crown Prosecutor’s office, Frederic Bariseau, told reporters that police received a telephone call just before 8 p.m. telling them about attack, and that the caller identified himself as the perpetrator.

When police and ambulance workers arrived they found the mayor dead with his throat slashed. The 18-year-old suspect had a box cutter.

“He identified himself as the caller. He presented himself to police and offered no resistance. He was standing in front of the cemetery waiting for the police,” said Bariseau, who described the young man as “very calm.”

Bariseau declined to name the suspect or discuss a motive for the attack.

But when asked about Belgian media reports that the teenager’s father committed suicide after being fired from his city hall job two years ago, Bariseau acknowledged that “some of the explanations that have been going around concern the death of his father.”

He said the suspect would be undergoing a psychiatric assessment.

Prime Minister Charles Michel said in a tweet he had learned with “dread of the brutal death of Alfred Gadenne. All my thoughts are with his family and loved ones.”