Two bowling alley staff 'taken hostage' in central England
Sylvia Hui, The Associated Press
Published Sunday, October 22, 2017 12:05PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 22, 2017 2:53PM EDT
UPDATE: Officials say the hostage incident at a bowling alley in England has ended with the arrest of a gunman who was treated at the scene and taken to a hospital.
The West Midlands Ambulance Service said two people who had been held hostage at a bowling alley in a shopping centre in Nuneaton have been released.
The gunman may have been injured when police moved in to end the standoff.
Warwickshire Police say the suspect has been arrested.
The bowling alley operations manager also said the situation had been resolved.
Details about the suspect's condition were not immediately available.
LONDON -- Police in central England warned the public to stay away Sunday from a shopping centre where a gunman reportedly took two employees at a bowling alley hostage.
Warwickshire Police confirmed they were dealing with an incident Sunday at Bermuda Park, a shopping and leisure centre in Nuneaton, about 7.5 miles north of the town of Coventry. The force said the problem was not terror-related, but provided no details.
No injuries were reported.
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.
All customers were able to leave the premises and were unharmed, Amshar said. There had been no contact with the two staff members since the commotion was reported, he 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.
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 demeanour about him."
An eyewitness told Sky a nearby restaurant was in lockdown.
"We got notification that someone had a shotgun inside the bowling alley," the witness, Sarah Fleming, told Sky News. "Then we had notification from the police that he actually had hostages.
"Everyone has been a bit up in the air, don't know what's going on," she said. "Everyone is a little bit scared at the minute."
Another witness from the same restaurant, Carl Lenton, described what he saw outside.
"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.
West Midlands Ambulance Service said it was called to the shopping centre Sunday afternoon and dispatched an ambulance, two paramedics, the Hazardous Area Response Team and an emergency planning manager to the scene. It said on Twitter there were "no casualties."
Gun crimes are rare in Britain, which has strict firearm control rules.