As reported by Bloomberg, a scary situation played out today at Apple’s flagship Amsterdam store as a man in camouflage gear and a balaclava fired a gun and then held someone hostage there for several hours before being apprehended. The hostage was reportedly an Apple Store customer from somewhere outside the Netherlands.
Pictures of the scene showed the hostage seated opposite the suspect, with his hands in cuffs behind his back. There were four other people in the store hiding in a closet, but the suspect apparently did not realize they were there. The store is located in Leidseplein, a busy area in the city center with many people around, some of whom live-streamed footage as the hostage situation continues. Dozens of other people were also inside when the incident began, but they managed to escape before things came to an end.
A standoff with police lasted from about 5:30PM local time until 10:45PM, when the hostage ran out of the store, with the suspect close behind. As reported by AT5 Echt Amsterdams Nieuws and confirmed in tweets from the police, police on the scene hit the running suspect with an armored BMW X5. As the suspect lay motionless on the ground, police sent over a robot to check them for explosives, confirming none were present.
It’s unclear what prompted the incident, but according to the details from the police, the suspect is a 27-year-old who sent selfies and other photos to AT5 during the incident that appeared to show him wearing a bomb vest. Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool reported many details released during a press conference afterward, as police said the hostage-taker requested water which was brought into to the store by a robot. The hostage took that opportunity to run for safety.
According to the police, their strategy was to wear down the suspect with negotiations. At some point, he demanded 200 million euros worth of cryptocurrency, as well as safe passage away from the Apple Store. Het Parool reports the police commander pointed out that the suspect’s gear was not in line with plans to attempt a robbery, and they believe he acted alone.
In a report released on the 23rd, police said the suspect had explosive “components” that were not armed, as well as a pistol and a semi-automatic weapon that he fired during the incident. Het Parool reported that the hostage-taker died from his injuries in the hospital on Wednesday evening.
In a statement given to TechCrunch, an Apple spokesperson said “We want to thank local law enforcement for their exceptional work and ongoing investigation. 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.”
Update February 23rd, 6:30PM ET: Added statement from local police and Apple.
Update February 23rd, 11:59PM ET: Updated regarding the death of the suspect from the injuries he sustained.