Teen who demanded airtime on Dutch TV in police custody
The Hague, Netherlands — A 19-year-old student carrying a fake pistol who forced his way into the Dutch national broadcaster and demanded airtime has told detectives he was acting alone and had no links to any terror organization, police said Friday.
In a statement, police said the teenager also told them he had not placed explosives around the Netherlands and that no major cyber attack was imminent as he had claimed Thursday.
"What brought the man to his actions is still being investigated," the police statement said.
Prosecutors and police have not identified the man who was seen pacing around a TV studio at the NOS broadcaster's headquarters in the city of Hilversum Thursday night holding what appeared to be a pistol with a silencer. However, Dutch media widely reported his name as Tarik Z., a student at the Delft Technical University.
The suspect was to appear before an investigating judge later Friday and prosecutors were to seek his continued detention so that a "personality investigation" could be carried out.
The recorded images broadcast later of the man dressed neatly in black suit and tie calmly speaking to a security guard in an otherwise deserted studio set the nation on edge, coming three weeks after the attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris that left 12 people dead.
NOS director Jan de Jong told his broadcaster's radio network that he would meet police and the local mayor in Hilversum to discuss whether security — already beefed up since the Charlie Hebdo attack — needs to be further strengthened.
De Jong paid tribute to the security guard who led the teenager into an empty TV studio and kept speaking to him throughout the ordeal that forced the 8 p.m. news off the air for the first time in 60 years.
"I was amazed at how unbelievably calm he was," De Jong said.
When police stormed into the studio, guns drawn, the man immediately dropped his fake gun and surrendered without a struggle.
The NOS is one of many broadcasters to have their headquarters in Hilversum, 12 miles east of Amsterdam. The area, known as the media park, has been tightly guarded since populist Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn was gunned down in a parking lot there in 2002 by an animal rights activist.