Dutch police have overpowered a hostage-taker by knocking him down with a police vehicle as he ran out of an Apple store in Amsterdam.
What began as an armed robbery evolved into a five-hour hostage drama, reportedly involving a 44-year-old British man held at gunpoint.
When the gunman asked for water, the hostage seized his chance and escaped.
As the hostage was chased out of the shop, the gunman was deliberately run over by a police car.
The man, who had a gun, was searched for explosives by a robot as he lay seriously injured on the ground. A 27-year-old man was arrested and treated by medics, police said.
Amsterdam police chief Frank Paauw praised the hostage’s “kind of heroic role” in bringing about a breakthrough. “He acted in a split second. Had he not done that, we could have been in for a long, nasty night.”
He also revealed that four people had stayed hidden throughout the drama in a broom cupboard on the ground floor of the Apple store.
The police chief said it was clear how serious the hostage-taking had been from the way the gunman had tried to catch him.
Officers were first called to the Apple store in Amsterdam’s Leidseplein area on Tuesday at about 17:40 local time (16:40 GMT).
Images circulated on Dutch media appeared to show a man waving a firearm in one hand while holding a person in his other arm. The gunman sent photos to Amsterdam TV channel AT5 appearing to show explosives strapped to his body.
As the stand-off unfolded, police asked people in the area to stop sharing images or live streams on social media in order to protect the safety of those still inside the building.
Police said the man under arrest was a 27-year-old resident of Amsterdam with a criminal record who had demanded €200m (£165m; $230m)) in crypto currency.
The Leidseplein Apple store is located in a popular square on the outside of the series of ringed canals in Amsterdam’s city centre.
It is the company’s flagship shop in the city, and occupies a prominent spot in the early 20th Century Hirsch building on the south corner of the square.
Source: BBC News