Gunman arrested at UK bowling alley; 2 hostages unharmed

Update 7.23pm: A gunman who held two members of staff hostage at a bowling alley in Warwickshire, England has been arrested.

Bermuda Park in Nuneaton was locked down when the suspect held two male employees inside MFA Bowl for more than four hours.

The hostage-taker was arrested and taken to hospital, and both staff members - a duty manager and a lane host - were unharmed.

Chris Clegg, operations director of MFA Bowl, said: "He (the suspect) has been arrested and the two staff are safe."

People, including children, were evacuated from nearby properties in the retail park during the incident, which police confirmed was not terror-related.

Mr Clegg said the suspect was handcuffed and the two employees were checked over for shock.

He said: "Two people were taken to a safe place, obviously they were checked over because obviously they might be in shock.

"It's obviously not an everyday situation. The ambulance, police were all checking them and making sure they were OK."

Warwickshire Police said specialist firearms officers and police negotiators, along with other emergency services attended the scene at 2.30pm on Sunday.

The force announced shortly after 7pm that the suspect had been arrested.

Chief Superintendent Alex Franklin-Smith said: "We would like to thank local people for their patience and co-operation while officers dealt with this incident.

"We are pleased that we were able to bring this incident to a peaceful resolution and that there were no injuries."

Update 7.14pm: A gunman who held two members of staff hostage at a bowling alley in Nuneaton has been arrested and the two employees are believed to be unharmed, Chris Clegg, operations director of MFA Bowl, said.

Update 7pm: A hostage situation is on-going in a UK bowling alley where two people are being held at gunpoint.

Shortly after 6.30pm a series of loud bangs could be heard in the complex at from Bermuda Park in the Midlands, and about 10 minutes later an ambulance was allowed through the cordon and two people got out.

The gunman had brandished his weapon above his head and yelled "game over" after arriving at the bowling alley, one witness said.

Alex Moore-Holland told Sky News: "We were just having a game ... and a man who was also bowling ran across our lane and he was like 'get out, get out', shouting.

"I was like 'What's going on?' so I turn around and there was a white guy, greyish beard, weird-looking man, he's got a gun up here, like this over his head.

"He was saying 'game over, game over', everyone shouting, screaming, panicking, trying to get out and I didn't know what to make of it, really. I ran, got my things as quickly as I could and get out of there."

Asked about the man's weapon, his friend Liam Roberts said: "It was a shotgun, a long-looking thing.

"I thought it was like a sword or a big knife but the second time when he came out near the door about 10 minutes after, this was to try and scare people, we knew it was a shotgun."

Around 40 or 50 people, including children, were inside the complex at the time.

"There was probably about 20 kids, crying, that were trying to get out - about five people at a time trying to get through a door."

They speculated that the hostage taker was trying to clear the building of people at first.

Mr Roberts said: "I think he was trying to make people scared, to know he was there."

Earlier:

A gunman is holding two members of staff hostage hostage at a bowling alley in Warwickshire in England.

The public has been warned to stay away from Bermuda Park in the Midlands, which has been placed on lockdown by armed police.`

Police have confirmed the incident is not connected with any terrorist activity.

Chief executive of MFA Bowl Mehdi Amshar told Sky News that he had been informed the pair were being held at gunpoint at the Nuneaton branch.

Mr Amshar told the broadcaster: "We understand that there is a gunman in the place and he is holding two of our staff as hostage."

Asked if the gunman is known to staff at the bowling alley, he said: "We believe from what my manageress tells me that he is an ex-husband or a boyfriend of a member of staff. That is what I know, I can't confirm that for definite."

He said there had been no contact with the two members of staff, adding: "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, we know that are missing and we assume that they are the two that are still inside the premises because the manageress has done the check but those two people are not accounted for."

The gunman was described by one witness in the bowling alley as an unshaven man in his forties, who was "basically shouting and had a very aggressive demeanour about him".

Lawrence Hallett, who had been at a family children's party at the alley, told Sky News: "One of the staff came up to us and quietly whispered in my ear to leave and I initially thought it was a fire alarm or something like that and I said 'What's the problem? We are halfway through a game' and he said 'There is a gunman'.

"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, if you like.

"I thought it was a joke and panicked a little bit and shouted 'everyone get out', and basically ran, hell for leather, out of the building.

"We then hung around outside for a little while ... we didn't know what to do, what was going on and he came out and swore and said 'what the heck are you guys' ... unslung his gun and went back in again and at that point we backed off to our cars.

"He was a 40-odd year-old guy, a bit rough around the edges, unshaven etc, etc."

Carl Lenton was sitting with his family at a table by the window in Frankie and Benny's when the incident began.

He told Sky News: "The manager from Frankie and Benny's came round and said we were in lockdown and we have got to stay in and there had been an incident at the bowling alley, a man over there with a gun.

"There were police cars arriving, there was a helicopter, police dogs, armed police stood all around the bowling alley, around the outside of it.

"It was quite scary at times."

West Midlands Ambulance Service said it was called to the incident at 3.40pm and sent an ambulance, two paramedic officers, the Hazardous Area Response Team, and an emergency planning manager to the scene.

It tweeted: "There are no casualties at present."

Children were evacuated from the nearby Bermuda Adventure Soft Play World, Megan Westwood, who was there with a friend said.

She told BBC News: "One of the staff told us to get away from the windows because there was a man outside with a knife. As time went on we were later told that he actually had a gun and they barricaded the doors, kept us all away from the windows, and then we were told that he had hostages in the bowling alley next to us."

They were evacuated by the back door into the Holiday Inn Express hotel, which she said was "full of children at the minute".


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