“The Joker of Dendermonde” aka the original Batman related shooting
Around the age of 16, Kim De Gelder started to display signs of strange behavior. He dressed in dark clothes and was obsessed with horror films. One of his favorite movies was The Dark Knight, starring the late Heath Ledger as the Joker. On January 23, 2009, exactly one year and one day after Heath Ledger died, Gelder (aged 20) entered the Fabeltjesland daycare centre in Dendermonde, Belgium, and attacked a collection of small children with a knife. He was wearing an outfit similar to Ledger’s character of the Joker, with white makeup and red hair.
After gaining access to the daycare, Kim De Gelder moved into a room with 24 people in it (18 infants under the age of three) and stabbed 15 of them. He murdered three people, two of them being babies under the age of 1. He quickly fled the scene, but was captured by police in the nearby town of Lebbeke. Upon his arrest, Gelder was found carrying a list of nurseries, three knives, and an axe. He displayed erratic behavior, strange fits of laughter, and weird smiles. When asked what he was doing, Gelder’s only response was “I have a question.”
The bizarre quote is reminiscent of a scene in the Dark Knight movie when the Joker violently gatecrashes a party looking for the character of Harvey Dent. “I only have one question: where is Harvey Dent? I’ll settle for his loved ones,” says the character played by Ledger, before threatening a woman with a knife. The media quickly picked up on the similarities between Gelder’s actions and the Batman movie, including the fact that the name Gelder is an anagram for Ledger, but investigators have dismissed the coincidence and said it is not relevant. In 2012, it was reported that Kim De Gelder will be held accountable for his actions and tried in a court of law.