Police Tasered a man on a London bus after he was reportedly “threatening bus passengers with an unknown substance”.
The “acid-armed man” allegedly held a bus driver and passengers hostage with a corrosive substance, until he was stopped when police stormed the vehicle. Emergency services, including Metropolitan Police’s Territorial Support Group, clad in blue chemical suits, were called to the scene in Croydon at 8.30pm yesterday.
The man, reported to be in his late 30s, boarded a 109 bus in Brixton and started smoking. But when he was confronted by passengers, he revealed a bottle containing a “substance”.
A three-hour standoff between the man and police then unfolded. It is believed passengers left the bus and the substance had not been thrown at anyone. Nobody had been reported injured.
Police detained the suspect, who could be seen in images from the scene wearing an orange jumpsuit. Chemical experts were called to the scene following the arrest to assess the substance.
An area from Brigstock Road down to Thornton Heath Garage was cordoned off and a safety perimeter put in place.
Amber Nurse, 38, an admin clerk, watched the incident unfold outside her home, after being alerted to it by her son.
She said: “There was a big queue of traffic behind the bus. The police were there and then I saw the armed police too looking around. That’s when I thought ‘this is quite serious’.
“The guys in the blue suits were there. There was a negotiator trying to get him downstairs. Then they went up. They approached him and finally tasered him.”
Ms Nurse said she saw the man “drinking from this bottle”, adding: “He had something to eat. He was looking a bit shaky and weary.”
The man was then stripped and put in other clothes, she said, before being taken away in an ambulance. The incident wasn’t over until about 11.45pm, she said.
A Met Police spokesperson said: “A man has been arrested by Met officers responding to an incident on a bus. The man had made threats but no hostages were taken.
“Police were called to London Road, Thornton Heath shortly after 20:30hrs on Sunday, 11 February, to a man threatening bus passengers with an unknown substance.
“Nobody was held hostage. The man made threats and everyone else on the bus immediately got off. The substance was not thrown.
“Shortly before midnight, the 44-year-old man was arrested for affray. The substance was found not to be harmful.
“Taser was discharged prior to his arrest and officers believe the man had taken drugs. As a precaution, he was taken to hospital. His condition is not believed to be life-threatening.”