A hostage situation that lasted around five hours on Tuesday, 22 February in an Amsterdam Apple store, finally came to an end as the police were able to overpower the gunman and free the remaining hostages.
Police had earlier said that special units had been deployed to "get the situation under control" after they were alerted about the armed robbery at 5:40 pm (1640 GMT), which then turned into a hostage situation.
Gunman Demanded $230 Million in Cryptocurrency
According to a report by AFP, police chief Frank Paauw said in a press conference that the gunman had demanded $230 million in cryptocurrency during the hostage ordeal.
Reports said that images on social media showed a man being held at gunpoint by an assailant. Witnesses also heard shots inside the store, according to the AT5 outlet.
The gunman has been identified as a 27-year-old local of Amsterdam. According to reports, the assailant, while wearing camouflage, had taken a 44-year-old British man hostage.
Initially it was feared that several people were being held hostage, but the assailant was not aware that a large number of people were hiding in the building.
Police had said earlier that during the stand-off, several people had managed to escape from the store, as per reports by AFP.
Police also said that they were constantly monitoring images on social media that could aid in their investigation process eventually.
Hostage to the Rescue
The stand-off finally ended at 10:30 pm (2130 GMT) when one of the hostages asked for water. The hostage then managed to escape from the building, with the assailant running after him.
The assailant was then hit by a police car and was checked by a robot for explosives as he lay on the ground.
He was then taken to the hospital in a "seriously injured" condition, police said.
Tim Wagemakers, an independent journalist, tweeted from a nearby building that there were heavily armed police in front of the Apple store, adding that locals had been ordered to stay inside their homes and away from windows.
The police chief hailed the hostage as a hero. "The hostage has played a hero role. In a few split seconds he escaped this hostage situation, otherwise it would have been an even longer night and nasty night," he said.
All the Apple stores in Netherlands had been shut on Wednesday. All the restaurants and theatres in the Leidseplein area of Amsterdam were also shut during the hostage situation on Tuesday.
(With inputs from AFP.)