In what law enforcement officers first thought was a terror attack, an elderly woman was killed and five others were injured in a central London knife attack Wednesday night.
Witnesses to the attack said the victims were “screaming and covered in blood” as their attacker was “lunging for anyone he could see,” according to The Sun.
Clip via Fox News
The attacker’s “mental health is a significant factor in this case,” Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters, according to Fox News. The suspect, reportedly a 17-year-old Somali citizen, was arrested after being shocked with a Taser by police.
British counterintelligence officers are assisting Metropolitan homicide in its investigation of the case.
London cabbie Paul Hutchinson told Sky News that he witnessed a body lying in the street on the southeast corner of Russell Square opposite the Imperial Hotel.
“The pavement was all taped off by police. There was lots of armed police and other police and there was a body on the floor. You could see the boots of the body sticking out where the body was. The body was covered up by a sheet,” he said.
“It was a big taped off area and lots of armed police. There were lots of police cars and ambulances.”
The woman who was killed was also described as an American citizen.
— CNN International (@cnni) August 4, 2016
A Brazilian witness, identified only as Fernando, described the attacker as a “chubby white man wearing a t-shirt and shorts,” and went on to describe what he saw, according to The Sun.
“The old lady had been stabbed in the back,” he said.
“The lady from the Spanish family told me that the guy had passed by, running, stabbing people. … They said they thought he was white but he was covering his face like this [with arm] I think as he was stabbing people like this.”
Rowley told the Associated Press the investigation “increasingly points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental-health issues.”
“So far we have found no evidence of radicalization or anything that would suggest the man in our custody was motivated by terrorism,” Rowley told the AP.
The suspect is a Norwegian of Somali origin who emigrated from Norway to Britain when he was 5 years old.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 4, 2016
Muslim or not Muslim? Your guess? https://t.co/AI4rw43KpT
— Neal Boortz (@Talkmaster) August 4, 2016
London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged Londoners to remain calm.
“I have spoken with the Commissioner, and the Assistant Commissioner, who have assured me that our police officers are working extremely hard to investigate exactly what has happened and to keep the rest of us safe,” he said, according to Sky News.
“I urge all Londoners to remain calm and vigilant. Please report anything suspicious to the police. We all have a vital role to play as eyes and ears for our police and security services and in helping to ensure London is protected.”
One person observed:
Woman killed in a ‘terrorist knife attack in London’ https://t.co/hRtm6Wg9sC Jihad slowing down..mst b minutes since the last attack. JVTeam
— fubaglady (@fubaglady) August 4, 2016
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