Two victims were killed, three were injured, and a suspect was shot dead by police in a terrorist incident on London Bridge on Friday afternoon, London Metropolitan Police said.
Neil Basu, assistant commissioner with the Met Police, said that officers and emergency services responded to reports of a stabbing at about 2 p.m. near London Bridge.
He said that one man was shot by specialist officers from the City of London police and died at the scene. He said the man was wearing a “hoax” explosive vest and he could “confirm that it has been declared a terrorist incident.”
“I must stress we retain an open mind as to any motive,” he said. “It would be inappropriate to speculate further at this time.” Police had said earlier on Twitter that “a number of people have been stabbed.” Basu did not give an update as to their condition, but said that information would be shared later.
Britain’s prime minister and London’s mayor praised the civilians who ‘literally ran towards danger’
Videos on social media appeared to show members of the public pinning down the man before he was shot. London Mayor Sadiq Khan praised the “breathtaking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger.”
In one video, a man can be seen backing away from the group holding a knife, apparently trying to move it further away from the suspect.
In other videos, an officer can be seen stepping back from the struggle and apparently shooting the man at close range while he lies on the ground. Business Insider is not publishing the videos because of their graphic nature.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson told reporters he had been briefed on the incident, and expressed gratitude for the bravery of the police officers and civilians who “physically intervened to protect the lives of others.”
“To me, they represent the very best of our country, and I thank them on behalf of all of our country,” Johnson said. “This country will never be cowed or divided or intimidated by this sort of attack, and our values — our British values — will prevail.”
Johnson said he had halted his campaign for the evening after the attack.
Witnesses described scenes of chaos, while authorities urged restraint in sharing photos and videos
People who were at the scene told The Guardian that they panicked and sought cover in nearby restaurants or shops, while others said they were trapped in these buildings or in their places of work as the bridge remained locked down.
Police said that people should continue to avoid the area and asked for people to come forward with any information and any pictures or videos they captured. Police also said they were increasing patrols across London and the rest of the UK. Other videos showed another man wielding a knife.
The Metropolitan Police tweeted: “Please use common sense and restraint in circulating pictures and videos of the #LondonBridge incident. Help us keep you safe.”
BuzzFeed UK reporter Mark Di Stefano also said that the nearby Borough Market was being searched by armed police that are “clearing out each bar one by one.” He added: “People being told by police to get as far away from area as possible.”
Yahoo News also reported that an eyewitness said the attack appears to be linked to an earlier incident in a building called Fishmongers’ Hall, where people were apparently stabbed. Many social-media users shared footage of the incident from the bridge, which has a number of office buildings looking over it.
This footage shows panicked people clearing the bridge.
Khan said the Metropolitan Police “confirmed that as a precaution the horrendous incident at London Bridge is being treated as though it is terrorism-related.”
He added: “I remain in close contact with the Metropolitan Police and am being kept updated with events. It has been confirmed that people were injured in the attack. My heart goes out to them, their families, and all affected.”
He also said: “We must — and we will — stay resolute in our determination to stand strong and united in the face of terror. Those who seek to attack us and divide us will never succeed.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said there were “shocking reports from London Bridge.”
“My thoughts are with those caught up in the incident. Thank you to the police and emergency services who are responding.”
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.