Man bailed over suspected firearm in Belfast shopping centre
Published 30/12/2011 | 00:00
A 22-year-old man arrested after being wrestled to the ground by police in a busy Belfast shopping centre has been released on police bail.
There was panic among shoppers in the Debenhams store in the CastleCourt centre on Royal Avenue, the city's main shopping area, after reports of a man with a gun acting suspiciously.
Those hoping to pick up a bargain in the sales looked on horrified after armed police swooped on the man in the packed department store.
The incident happened shortly after 2pm on Wednesday.
Inside the store at least five officers from the armed response unit surrounded the 22-year-old close to one of the store's cosmetic counters.
According to eyewitnesses, the man had been acting suspiciously in the store when one assistant spotted what was thought to be a gun in a bag he was carrying before alerting security.
One shopper said she thought she was going to die and heard police shouting "drop the gun" at the man.
It's understood some officers drew Tasers but none of the weapons were discharged.
The man was subsequently arrested and police removed what is believed to have been a shotgun or rifle in a bin bag.
As he was led away out of one of the store's side doors he yelled abuse at a waiting newspaper photographer before being bundled into a waiting police van.
He was then taken to Musgrave Street police station for questioning.
Last night police announced he had been released on bail pending further inquiries.