2 dead, others injured in stabbing on London Bridge
A man wearing a fake explosive vest stabbed several people in what police are treating as a terrorist attack Friday on London Bridge.
November 29, 2019 - 7:05 am
Updated November 29, 2019 - 2:17 pm
LONDON — A man wearing a fake explosive vest stabbed several people Friday in London, killing two in what police are treating as a terrorist attack before being tackled by members of the public and then fatally shot by officers on London Bridge, officials said.
Metropolitan Police Chief Cressida Dick said two stabbing victims had died and three injured people were being treated in hospitals. Health officials said one of the injured was in critical but stable condition, one was stable and the third had less serious injuries.
Dick said police were working “at full tilt” to determine whether anyone else was involved in the attack. She would not say whether the suspect was known to police, noting it was “a very fast moving, dynamic investigation; we will keep you updated.”
The violence erupted two-and-a-half years after a van and knife attack in the same area killed eight people and less than two weeks before Britain holds a national election. The main pollical parties temporarily suspended campaigning in London as a mark of respect.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “to the best of our knowledge, the incident has been contained” but that details were still emerging.
Johnson’s office said the prime minister would chair a meeting of the government’s emergency committee, COBRA, later Friday evening.
‘Hoax explosive device’
Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Neil Basu said the suspect appeared to be wearing a bomb vest but it turned out to be “a hoax explosive device.”
Basu said officers were keeping “an open mind as to any motive.”
Dick, the police chief, said officers were called just before 2 p.m. to Fishmongers’ Hall, a conference venue at the north end of London Bridge. The pedestrian and vehicle bridge links the city’s business district with the south bank of the River Thames.
Cambridge-based prison-education organization Learning Together was holding an event there Friday, and the University of Cambridge said it was “gravely concerned” about students, staff and alumni who might have been caught up in the attack.
Minutes after the stabbings report, witnesses saw a man with a knife being wrestled to the ground by members of the public on the bridge before armed-response officers shot him dead.
One video posted on social media showed two men struggling on the bridge before police pulled a man in civilian clothes off a black-clad man on the ground. Gunshots followed. Another depicted a man in suit and overcoat holding a long knife that apparently had been taken from the attacker.
‘Wrestling with tall, bearded man’
Other images showed police, guns drawn, pointing at a figure on the ground in the distance.
Karen Bosch, who was on a bus crossing the bridge, said she saw police “wrestling with one tall, bearded man” and then heard “gunshots, two loud pops.”
She said the man “pulled his coat back which showed that he had some sort of vest underneath, whether it’s a stab vest, or some sort of explosive vest, the police then really quickly moved backwards, away.”
Police confirmed that the man died at the scene.
The mayor praised the “breathtaking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger not knowing what confronted him.”
“They are the best of us,” Khan said.
The prime minister also praised the bystanders, and said anyone who was involved in the attack “will be hunted down and will be brought to justice.”
Cars and buses on the busy bridge stood abandoned after the shooting, with a white truck stopped diagonally across the lanes. Video footage showed police pointing guns at the truck before moving to check its container.
London Bridge station, one of the city’s busiest rail hubs, was closed for several hours after the attack.
Scores of police, some armed with submachine guns, ushered office workers and tourists out of the area packed with office buildings, banks, restaurants and bars. Staff in nearby office blocks were told to stay inside.