A group of students at a school in the Netherlands chased of a man armed with two knives using their backpacks to defend themselves, the NL Times reports.
The Dutch students at Scala college in Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands, were able to drive the 44-year-old man away from the school during the Wednesday incident. No one was injured and the suspect was later taken into custody, the news site reports.
A video of the incident, which you can watch above, shows the students surrounding the man, with one using his backpack to trip him and others hurling their backpacks at him. He eventually backs away from the students and runs off.
Police told the NL Times that the 44-year-old man, who has not been named, is “disturbed,” and is already following an aid program. He was previously known to police, the news site reports.
“It’s being investigated whether other care programs are possible”, the police told the NL Times.
The school said it will be providing support to the students.
Students can be heard in the video screaming as the knife-wielding man runs through the school yard. The man is being chased by several students and one throws his backpack at the man’s feet, tripping him and sending him down to the ground.
The student then begins kicking the man as another throws his backpack at him.
The man is able to get back to his feet, and with knives in each hand, faces off against the students. He holds the knives in the air as one of the students picks up the back pack and throws it at him again.
The camera then focuses away from the incident and zooms back in as the man slowly abcks down the sidewalk away from the students. He then turns and runs away.
Police said in a statement that they confiscated two knives from the man and took him into custody. He is receiving mental health treatment, police said.
The students who witnessed the incident and took part in it will be provided with counseling by the school, according to police.
The man lives at an assisted living complex next to the school, the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad reports. The school’s director told the newspaper what happened was “very dangerous.”
The man was screaming, “go away, otherwise I will stab you,” witnesses say.
Proponents of stricter gun laws in the United States are using the incident as an example of how gun control could make it more difficult for someone to carry out an attack on a school. According to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, “Dutch gun laws are actually quite strict. Gun ownership is seen not as a right, but a privilege, with hunting and target shooting the only two legitimate reasons for owning a gun.”
According to RNW, “Self defence is not regarded as a valid argument for owning a gun, and only the police are allowed to carry a weapon. The main purpose of Dutch gun laws is to create a clear division between legal gun owners and people who use guns for criminal purposes. So far, the Dutch have been fairly successful in accomplishing this objective.”
Gun owners must be members of a gun club for a year before being allowed to apply for a gun permit, which can be taken away for violations of gun laws or involvement in a violent crime or other offenses, including driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, RNW reports.
Rami Ismail, a Dutch video game developer, said he attended Scala college. His tweet about the incident has gone viral.
“A 44-year old man with severe mental issues attacked my former high school in the Netherlands today. Since he did not have access to guns, he brought knives, and was scared away by students throwing their backpacks at him. The man & students are now all getting help as needed,” Ismail tweeted. “I have no data on whether the man plays violent videogames, as of yet the Dutch government has not called to arm all our teachers or give them tactical combat training, and the National Backpack Association has not made a statement, although admittedly I’m not sure it exists.”
Other Twitter users also wrote about the incident in terms of American gun control and school shooting incidents.
“In the Netherlands, all they need is a good guy with a backpack,” @Gammacounter tweeted.
@SkepticalPet tweeted, “This is what a school shooting looks like in a country with strict gun laws. A man walked up to a dutch school with two knives and got chased off by students using their backpacks.”
Paul Heemskerk tweeted, “The difference between a knife and a gun attack: in the Netherlands a mentally disturbed man tried to stab students, who promptly chased him away with their (heavy) school bags. #NeverAgain #NeverAgainMSD”