The dramatic hostage situation in the Apple store in Amsterdam has ended after armed police disabled and disarmed the gunman.
At 5.40pm GMT, the gunman took a number of people hostage and armed police soon surrounded and cordoned off the building in Leidseplein, a square in the centre of the Dutch capital.
Initial reports had suggested that two men in balaclavas had left the Apple Store after robbing it, but when they attempted to leave the store, they spotted nearby police.
One of the men reportedly grabbed a bystander and took them hostage and headed back into the store. The fate of the second gunmen (if there was one) remains unknown.
Video footage then emerged which showed the gunman holding the hostage around the neck and waving around a handgun.
Dutch police confirmed on Twitter that it had deployed specialist units, including the Special Intervention Service (DSI), an elite police tactical unit of the Dutch National Police Corps that are “tasked with neutralising terrorist incidents and other violent public order disruptions for which regular police units are inadequately equipped.”
During the nearly five hour siege, which ended around 10pm GMT, the gunman reportedly demanded a 200m euros ransom, the Daily Mail reported.
The gunman was thought to be holding over dozen hostages, and it is likely that some of them were Apple Store staff.
Gunshots were reportedly heard inside the Apple Store
At 9.15pm Dutch police said ‘dozens’ of people had been freed from the building.
But then the situation quickly escalated, the Daily Mail reported, when a handcuffed Briton, said to be aged 44, escaped the clutches of the gunman and ran out of the building.
The gunman exited the Apple Store and chased after the fleeing Briton, but Dutch police seized the opportunity and used a police car to run the gunman over.
He was then arrested after being searched by a robot for explosives.
“We managed to stop the hostage-taker by hitting him as he ran out,” Dutch police were quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.
“We now know that the suspect had no explosives on his body and medical personnel are now taking care of him,” they added.
Video footage of the police takedown of the gunman can be found here.
Apple has thanked Dutch police for their efforts and said it was ‘so thankful’ for the resolve shown by its staff and customers.
Apple said that its employees and customers were safe “after this terrifying experience,” in a statement obtained by TechCrunch. “There is still an on-going investigation,” the company added.
“We want to thank local law enforcement for their exceptional work and ongoing investigation,” the statement, provided by an Apple spokesperson, added.
“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,” the statement concluded.