A woman was killed and five other people injured by a man attacked passers-by withĀ a knife in central London. The suspect supposedly had some mental health issues, while the local authorities say thereĀ was no evidence that the attack was terrorism related.
A police station received a call at 10:33 p.m. (2133 GMT) after a Norwegian man of Somali origin armed with with a knifeĀ went on a rampageĀ in London’s Russell Square, an elegant park near the site of a 2005 suicide bombing.
“All of the work we have done so far increasingly points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental health issues,” said London Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley.
“We believe this was a spontaneous attack and that the victims were selected at random,”Ā he added.
“So far we have found no evidence of radicalization that would suggest that the man in our custody is in any way motivated by terrorism,” said Rowley. Initially he said that terrorism was a line of inquiry.
One woman described seeing a man near the scene in motorcycle clothing with a helmet on top of his head.
Philippa Baglee, who arrivedĀ in London to celebrate her 60th birthday, was walking past Russell Square when she saw a group of people looking down at the ground.
āThere was someone lying on the ground and lots of people around, and a guy with a black motorcycle helmet balanced on top of his head walking around,ā she said.
āHe was on the outside of everyone looking on the ground. The moment I saw an ambulance and police car arrive, I thought someone had just been knocked off their bike.ā
Asked to describe the man, she said he was short and dressed in what she thought was all black leathers. āIt was all very calm. No one was panicking,ā Baglee said.
The victim, a U.S. citizen in her 60s, was treated at the scene but pronounced dead a short time later.
The Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters:Ā āMy thoughts are with the family of the woman who was murdered and those who were injured. A normal night out in our busy capital has ended in horrific circumstances.”
āOur investigation is moving very quickly and our detectives have been working hard throughout the night. As we have already made clear, mental health remains a substantial focus for our investigation.ā
Hogan-Howe said specialist firearms officers were on the scene in six minutes and detained the subject using only a Taser.
āTheir swift response undoubtedly helped to prevent more people from getting injured,ā he said.
āAcross our capital today you will see more police officers, armed and unarmed, to reassure the public after recent events overseas. We will protect our capital and those who live, work and visit our city.ā
Another people who were also hurt by the man were treated in hospital, though three of them were later discharged. Nationals from Australia, Britain, Israel and the United States were among those hurt.