Gunman arrested after taking hostages at UK bowling alley
LONDON (AP) — A gunman who reportedly held two employees at a bowling alley hostage was arrested Sunday night after armed police moved in. He was treated at the scene and taken to a hospital for treatment.
The two people being held were released unharmed, police and ambulance officials said.
Details about the gunman’s condition were not released. He has not yet been charged or identified.
Earlier, police in central England had warned the public to stay away from Bermuda Park, the shopping center where the bowling alley is located in Nuneaton, about 7.5 miles north of the town of Coventry.
Warwickshire Police said the problem was not terrorism-related, but provided no details.
Mehdi Amshar, chief executive of the MFA Bowl bowling alley chain, told Sky News that he was informed the two employees were being held at gunpoint at the company’s Nuneaton branch.
Amshar said he believed the gunman was an ex-husband or former boyfriend of an employee, but he couldn’t be sure. Police did not confirm those details.
All customers were able to leave the premises and were unharmed, Amshar said.
“All our staff, the rest of our staff, are safe and they made sure that all the customers have left the premises so everybody is in safety, with the exception of the two people who are missing,” he told the broadcaster before the hostages were freed.
A witness from a nearby restaurant, Carl Lenton, described what he saw outside as the alarm spread.
“There were police cars arriving, there was a helicopter, police dogs, armed police stood all around the bowling alley, around the outside of it,” Lenton said.
The police response may have been heightened by concerns about a possible extremist attack. Britain’s official terrorist threat level is set as “severe,” indicating an attack is thought to be highly likely.
Gun crimes are rare in Britain, which has strict firearm control rules.
One man who said he was at a children’s party at the bowling alley said he initially thought it was a joke when a staff member told him to leave because a gunman was inside.
“I looked up and there was a guy, probably 20 or 30 feet away, walking towards us with a sawn-off shotgun sort of slung over his shoulder,” Lawrence Hallett told Sky News. He added the man was “basically shouting and had a very aggressive demeanor about him.”