Police capture gunman and free hostages in French bank hold-up
A gunman with psychiatric problems took six people hostage at a bank in Le Havre, northern France, before giving himself up to the police. No one was injured in the incident. While the gunman’s motives remain unclear, police sources say he just ‘wanted to be talked about’.
According to official sources, one hostage escaped and the gunman released the five others before handing himself over to the police.
The hostages were all employees of the bank.
"The hostages have been freed, safe and sound," Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said, hours after an elite RAID police unit captured the gunman.
Interior Minister Gérard Darmanin congratulates 'all actors' of the incident.
Je veux remercier et féliciter tous les acteurs de cette action menée avec une grande maîtrise et un grand sang-froid.— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) August 6, 2020
Ma réaction à la prise d’otages du Havre 👇 pic.twitter.com/k99qVihyKA
No shots were fired and no-one was mistreated, according to police sources.
‘He just wanted to be talked about’
The man, aged 34, had entered the premises at 4:45 pm with a handgun
According to Reuters, he claimed the Palestinian cause for his actions, but his motives remain unclear.
“We will see what his real intent and motivations were. At the moment, I’m unable to provide circumstantial elements”, Le Havre’s public prosecutor said immediately after the man’s arrest.
Psychiatric problems, previous incidents with firearms
The gunman had a history of psychiatric problems and had been previously involved in kidnapping and firearms offences.
In 2013, armed with a handgun and a teargas bomb, he took four people hostage in a CIC bank branch.
At the time, he demanded council housing for his son and himself, before surrendering to the police.
(With AFP, BFM TV and Ouest France)
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