Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

A Chaotic Showdown With A Crossbow-Wielding Man Leaves 2 People Dead

A man fired a crossbow from a balcony into the street in the Netherlands on Friday in a dangerous and confusing event in which two people died and another victim was injured, police say. The suspect is now in custody; he was also injured.

Police were initially called to the apartment building in the city of Almelo for a reported stabbing incident Friday morning. The two people who died were found inside the building, local media outlet RTV Oost reports.

Police have released few details about what happened, saying their investigation is ongoing. But it seems clear that the situation escalated rapidly as a call for a stabbing turned into a brief standoff with police involving a crossbow.

As officers converged on the apartment building, they were confronted by a shirtless man wielding a crossbow. He fired the weapon at bystanders — and officers fired at him with their guns, according to the Dutch national police.

Video from the scene shows the man seemingly firing at least one arrow from the balcony. In the brief footage, at least one gunshot also rings out.

The East Netherlands Police Unit in Overijssel Province said officers had been forced to use their weapons. Photos show that police tactical units were among those responding, and officers had pointed rifles with telescopic sights at the building.

Almelo Mayor Arjen Gerritsen said on Twitter that he is "shocked and upset" by the crime, which he said had a great impact on the neighborhood. More information will be released when possible, he added.

Police have not publicly identified anyone involved in the case, other than to say the suspect who was arrested is a 28-year-old man who lives in the city.

It's not clear what relationship the crossbow-wielding man might have had with the two people who died.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.