There was a major crisis on Tuesday in the Apple Store in Amsterdam when a culture-enricher carrying an automatic weapon took a hostage and held him for six hours. The standoff ended late that night when a police car ran over the suspect.
The following report doesn’t mention the ethnicity of the perp, but it describes him as an “Amsterdam resident”, which is a subtle way of indicating that he has a migration background. The photos reportedly show him wearing a bomb belt, which more or less clinches the deal: when’s the last time you saw a non-Muslim wearing a suicide bomber’s belt?
Hero role for Bulgarian hostage, suspect seriously injured
How the hellish evening in the Amsterdam Apple store played out
by Masha De Jong
February 23, 2022
Amsterdam— An armed hostage-taking in the Apple store on Leidseplein Tuesday evening held the capital city in its grip. The precarious situation, which lasted almost six hours, was stopped by force by police from the anti-terror unit DSI, by running into the hostage-taker, a 27-year-old Amsterdam resident, with a police car. Moments prior, a Bulgarian hostage ran for his life from the threat.
It was the climax of a hellish evening, which began around 5:40pm with a report to the police of a possible hostage-taking. Upon the arrival of the officers, they were immediately fired on by the hostage-taker. He was in possession of a handgun and a semi-automatic weapon. That resulted in the situation being assessed as threatening.
The suspect, who is known to the police under the weapons and munitions act, demanded €200 million in cryptocurrency. It is not clear if he was known to the GGZ [mental health authorities]. The authorities, for the time being, are operating under the assumption that the suspect acted alone.
A police force was put together with several helicopters, dozens of vehicles, terror units, and even a specialized Bearcat vehicle.
Because the police suspected that the hostage-taker was following reports on social media, it was decided to be very cautious in providing information about the situation in the building during the hostage crisis.
All catering establishments around the Leidseplein, the Holland Casino, and the Stadsschouwburg were evacuated in the ensuing hours. Police Commissioner Frank Paauw announced that during the course of the evening, 70 people were evacuated.
Around 8:30, a dozen employees of the Apple store, together with a group of police officers, stood by the Vondelpark. They had managed to make it to safety via the stairs in the rear of the building. Two colleagues from the store said that they waited upstairs with several others until they got a sign they could leave. One of them was emotional. “I left America because of this kind of trouble. I experienced it there as well. I thought, never this again. Now I’m sitting in the middle of it in Amsterdam.”
Report to AT5
In photos of the hostage situation, you can see how the suspect, dressed in camouflage uniform, is holding a hostage. Also clearly visible is the bomb belt. Meanwhile, investigation has shown that the explosive material was not yet activated. Reading the letters closely on the bomb belt, the word, “drill” or “exercise” can be read.
During the hostage situation, the suspect himself made contact with the city broadcast station AT5 by sending photos and reports. “This is the hostage-taker… if the amount is not going to be sent. Is this sent. Is the life of this man (the system?) going to be on your conscience,” is the muddled text he sent literally to AT5.
“We knew that there were people in a closet; fortunately, the suspect didn’t know that.”
Four colleagues were later found to have been in a broom closet for hours, close by the hostage-taker. “They were scared to death,” was stated in a press conference. “We knew there were people in a closet, fortunately, the suspect didn’t know that,” said the principal officer of the Public Prosecutor during the press conference. “We wanted to negotiate and exhaust the man to overpower him if the situation arose.”
The hostage situation came to an end after 11:30, after the police delivered a bottle of water to the door with a robot. The customer-hostage took off running, with the hostage-taker pursuing him. Once outside, the suspect was run over by a police car. The 27-year-old Amsterdam resident was then taken, seriously injured, to the hospital. The others involved were unharmed.
The police had not expected the hostage to run away. The Amsterdam police chief, Frank Paauw, called the action of the victim, from Bulgaria, an “act of heroism.”
The police have made two house searches in Amsterdam-West and Center: one in the home where the suspect was registered, and one in the home where he often stayed. During the house searches, data processors were seized.
For the people freed from the building, victim assistance has been activated. On Wednesday, a crisis bus will be on the Leidseplein, to which, anyone who needs aftercare can report.