Suspected gunman arrested after bowling alley siege

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A suspected gunman was arrested after police ended a four-hour armed siege at a bowling alley.

Officers were called to the MFA Bowl in Bermuda Park in Nuneaton at 2:30pm on Sunday after reports a man with a shotgun had taken hostages.

The retail park had been on lockdown after the man was reported to have entered the building with a shotgun.

Police later revealed the man, believed to be aged in his 40s, had taken two people hostage.

Officers brought the incident to “a peaceful resolution” and “there were no injuries”, Warwickshire Police Chief Superintendent Alex Franklin-Smith said.

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Eyewitnesses told of hearing “major bangs” just after 6:30pm, when officers stormed the building and how ten minutes later they saw an ambulance leave.

West Midlands Ambulance Service said a suspect had been taken to hospital for treatment and two male hostages had been “assessed as uninjured and discharged on scene”.

The chief executive of MFA Bowl said he believed the suspected gunman was the ex-partner of a member of staff. The two men who had been held hostage both worked at the bowling alley.

Mehdi Afshar said he understood the man was known to a member of staff at the bowling alley. Staff realised two members of staff were missing when a headcount was completed after an evacuation, he added.

A witness told how he saw the gunman before he took hostages. Will Lang, the bowling alley’s engineer, said: “I was down the back of the machines at about 1pm when suddenly they all stopped. All of a sudden a guy came around from the bar waving the gun like a maniac. I just froze.”

The bowling alley is part of a complex which includes a cinema, children’s soft play centre and a gym. Hundreds of people, including many children, were caught up in the incident when the area went into lockdown.

They were all evacuated from the area when the incident became contained in a smaller area of the alley.

The gunman was described by one witness 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, said: “One of the staff came up to us and quietly whispered in my ear to leave. I said ‘What’s the problem? We are halfway through a game’ and he said ‘There is a gunman’.”

Another woman who was eating at a restaurant in the complex said: “We got notification that someone had a shotgun inside the bowling alley. We were inside Frankie and Benny’s and obviously we went on lockdown, no-one was allowed in or out.

“Then we had notification from the police that he actually had hostages.”

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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 said: “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.”