Police storm bowling alley and arrest gun-wielding man who took staff hostage

A four-hour hostage situation at a bowling alley in England ended in a flurry of blasts when police swooped to free two men from their shotgun-wielding captor.

Bermuda Park in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, was placed on lockdown at around 2.30pm yesterday when the bearded gunman walked into MFA Bowl and reportedly yelled: "Game over."

Terrified onlookers - including children - were ordered to run by the suspect, who then held two male employees inside for several hours.

The armed siege reached its climax as officers stormed the building amid a series of flash bangs, arresting the man at around 6.30pm.

Neither of the two hostages, a duty manager and a lane host, was injured and the suspect was taken to hospital, the West Midlands Ambulance Service said.

Chief executive of MFA Bowl Mehdi Afshar said he had been informed the man, who was described as middle-aged, could be the ex-partner of a staff member.

Witnesses inside the bowling alley said they were first alerted to the danger when panic began to unfold.

Thomas Hitchens, a fast food manager from Nuneaton, was bowling with his family - a party of 12.

The 28-year-old said: "Everyone was running out, and we were literally the last family left in there.

"As I turned around, he was stood there with this sawn-off double-barrelled shotgun.

"He just shouted at us 'get out - now'."

Mr Hitchens believed he parked his car right next to the man's vehicle, recognising him later as the person he then saw inside.

He said: "He shouted 'it'll be fine - I won't hurt the kids'.

"When we got into the car park, me and the children just hid behind a load of great big red bins."

He added: "It was my daughter's birthday, so we thought we'd come bowling tonight - and this happens, I can't believe it."

The retail park, which also houses restaurants and a cinema, was evacuated during the incident, which police confirmed was not terror-related.

Another witness inside the bowling alley described how the "weird looking" gunman had brandished his weapon above his head at the start of the ordeal.

Alex Mulholland said: "We were just having a game of bowling 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."

Around 40 or 50 people were said to be inside the complex at the time.

Liam Roberts, a friend of Mr Mulholland, said: "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 suspect was trying to clear the building of people at first.

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

The man then followed fleeing customers out to the car park, where he swore and yelled at them before returning inside.

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

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."

Following the conclusion of the incident, forensics officers were examining the scene and a red Peugeot 307 car was removed by police on the back of a vehicle transporter.


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