What just happened? Apple's flagship retail store in Amsterdam was the scene of a hostage situation yesterday when a man in camouflage gear carrying a pistol and automatic rifle held another man at gunpoint. The incident ended with the suspect making a run for it before being hit by police driving an armored BMW X5.
Update: Apple has given a statement to TechCrunch, confirming that all employees and customers are safe "after this terrifying experience."
"We want to thank local law enforcement for their exceptional work and ongoing investigation," Apple said in its statement. "Our teams and customers took swift action and showed incredible strength and resolve today, and we are so thankful for the support and care they've shown each other under such challenging circumstances."
Reuters reports that there were about 70 people inside the Apple Store in Leidseplein when the situation began, but they managed to escape before it ended. Pictures captured from the store show the 27-year-old suspect sitting opposite a hostage whose hands are cuffed behind his back. There were also four people in a store closet, but the gunman didn't know they were there.
Leidseplein pic.twitter.com/vMilRcVVZg--- flip (@philip035050) February 22, 2022
Police were alerted to an armed robbery taking place at the store at 5:40 pm local time. The siege ended at 10:45 pm when the hostage ran out of the building, taking advantage of a robot delivering water requested by the suspect to the door. The gunman ran after the hostage, believed to be a 44-year-old British man, and was hit by a police vehicle. The moment was captured in this (graphic) tweet.
"The hostage played a heroic role by forcing a breakthrough," said Amsterdam police chief Frank Pauwsaid. "Otherwise, this could have been a long night."
Police sent a robot to check the suspect for explosives as he lay on the ground---he had sent selfies showing he was wearing a bomb vest to the AT5 outlet---but none were present. While the hostage taker was seriously injured, he could still speak.
Contrary to some reports, Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool writes that the police commander believes the suspect's gear was not in line with plans to rob the store. The man had a criminal record and, at one point during the incident, contacted the police and demanded 200 million Euros ($226 million) in crypto along with safe passage out of the building.
h/t: The Verge