British lawmaker Jo Cox dies after shooting attack

LONDON — A lawmaker who campaigned for Britain to stay in the European Union was killed Thursday by a gun- and knife-wielding attacker in her small-town constituency, a tragedy that brought the country’s fierce, divisive referendum campaign to a shocked standstill.

Jo Cox, a 41-year-old Labour Party legislator who praised the contribution of immigrants to Britain and championed the cause of war-scarred Syrian refugees, was attacked outside a library in Birstall, northern England, after a regular meeting with constituents.

Police would not speculate on the attacker’s motive, but Clarke Rothwell, who runs a cafe near the scene of the slaying, told the BBC and Britain’s Press Association that the assailant shouted “Britain first!” several times. Police did not confirm that account.

Witnesses described a man shooting Cox several times and then stabbing her as she lay on the pavement. Police said they had arrested a 52-year-old man and were not looking for anyone else.

“Our working presumption … is that this is a lone incident,” said Dee Collins, acting chief constable of West Yorkshire Police.

British security officials said the shooting didn’t appear to be related to international terrorism, but domestic terrorism has not been ruled out.

Residents identified the suspect to the BBC and other media as Birstall resident Tommy Mair. Neighbors said Mair was a quiet man who did gardening jobs for local people.

Violence against British politicians has been rare since Northern Ireland’s late-1990s peace agreement. Cox was the first serving member of Parliament to be killed in a quarter-century, and figures from all parts of the political spectrum expressed deep shock.

Both the Vote Leave and Britain Stronger in Europe campaigns suspended activity ahead of next week’s vote over whether Britain should remain a part of the 28-member bloc. Prime Minister David Cameron canceled a speech and rally in Gibraltar, and flags on British government buildings were lowered to half-mast.

“This is absolutely tragic and dreadful news,” Cameron said. “We have lost a great star. She was a great campaigning MP with huge compassion and a big heart.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said “the whole of the Labour Party and Labour family — and indeed the whole country — will be in shock at the horrific murder of Jo Cox today.”

“Jo died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve,” he said.

It was unclear whether the attack was directly related to the referendum campaign, which has stirred deep passions as Britons argue over their place in Europe, the scale of immigration and the future of their country.

The rival sides have been canvassing feverishly ahead of what is expected to be a close vote and Cox had been campaigning for the “remain” camp.

It wasn’t clear whether Cox had been deliberately targeted. A 77-year-old man was also wounded, though it was unclear how he sustained his injuries.

Britain’s Press Association news agency quoted a witness, Hithem Ben Abdallah, as saying Cox got involved in a scuffle between two men in Birstall, a small market town some 200 miles (320 kilometers) north of London.

Abdallah said one of the men was fighting with Cox and then a gun went off twice and “she fell between two cars and I came and saw her bleeding” on the ground.

Rothwell, the cafe worker, told the BBC he believed Cox had been shot and stabbed multiple times.

“Three times she was shot, the initial time which then she dropped to the floor and two more times,” he said. “The third time he got close proximity, he shot her around the head area.”

“In the meantime he was stabbing her as well. He was stabbing her with his knife,” Rothwell said.

“He was shouting, ‘Put Britain first!’ He shouted it about two or three times.”

Shopkeeper Sanjeev Kumar told the BBC he saw a woman lying on the ground “bleeding from the mouth and nose,” with two women trying to help her.

Cox spent many years working for aid groups including Oxfam and Save the Children, visiting problem-plagued areas, including Darfur and Afghanistan. She was elected to the House of Commons in the May 2015 general election and headed Parliament’s Friends of Syria group.

She was one of the most outspoken lawmakers on the subject of the Syrian civil war, and was critical of Britain’s reluctance to deepen its military involvement against the Islamic State group as part of efforts to end it. But she abstained last year when Parliament voted to launch airstrikes on IS targets in Syria, saying a more wide-ranging solution to the conflict was needed.

In her first speech to Parliament last year, Cox spoke of how the area she represented had “been deeply enhanced by immigration, be it of Irish Catholics across the constituency or of Muslims from Gujarat in India or from Pakistan.”

“While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us,” she said.

Immigration has been a flashpoint in the referendum campaign, with many “leave” supporters eager to curb the number of migrants to Britain by leaving the EU, which operates on the principle of free movement of people between member states.

Cox was an enthusiastic supporter of the “remain” cause in the referendum, and on Wednesday campaigned on the River Thames in London with her husband and two young children. Her husband, Brendan Cox, posted images on Twitter of the family in an inflatable dinghy, waving a flag supporting continued British EU membership.

“Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love,” Brendan Cox said in a statement after the slaying.

“She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her,” he said. “Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.”

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the killing was “an assault on everyone who cares about and has faith in democracy.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the incident tragic, while French President Francois Hollande sent “condolences and compassion” to Cox’s family and loved ones, and expressed his “full solidarity” with the British people.

No serving U.K. member of Parliament has been killed since 1990, when the Irish Republican Army killed Conservative lawmaker Ian Gow with a booby-trap bomb placed under his car outside his English home. A former lawmaker, Donald Kaberry, was injured in an IRA bombing in 1990 and died the next year.

In the past two decades, two other British lawmakers have been attacked during their “surgeries,” regular meetings where constituents can present concerns and complaints.

Labour legislator Stephen Timms was stabbed in the stomach and injured in May 2010 by a female student radicalized by online sermons from an al-Qaida-linked preacher.

In 2000, Liberal Democrat lawmaker Nigel Jones and his aide Andrew Pennington were attacked by a man wielding a sword during such a meeting. Pennington was killed and Jones injured in the attack in Cheltenham, England.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
Las Vegans Celebrate Big Snowfall
Las Vegans celebrate big snowfall at Lee Canyon.
Exploring old mines for denim jeans and other vintage items
Caden Gould of Genoa, Nev. talks about his experiences looking for vintage denim jeans and other items in old mines and other places areas across Nevada and the west.
Officers share photo of dead gunman after Las Vegas shooting
A little over an hour after SWAT officers entered Stephen Paddock's suite at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas police officers far from the scene were already sharing cell phone photos of the dead Oct. 1 gunman.
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece
Frontier jet safely returns to Las Vegas after losing engine piece. (@FlightAlerts_)
Park Service plans ahead for lower lake levels
National Park Service releases new plans to maintain access to the water as Lake Mead continues to shrink.
Women claim abuse at Florence McClure Women's Correctional Facility
Current and ex-inmates, including Merry West, are suing Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Facility, claiming abuse and inadequate medical care. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Butte County Sheriff's Office Body Cam Footage
Bodycam video from Butte County (Calif.) Sheriff's Office Deputy Aaron Parmley, who was in Paradise November 8 helping with evacuations. (Butte County Sheriff's Office)
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 106
NDOT construction blasting along State Route 160, near Mt. Potosi Road, in Clark County as part of a $59 million, 6-mile-long highway widening project that began this summer. (Nevada Department of Transportation)
Car crashes into Papa Murphy's Pizza shop
A driver crashed a car into a western Las Vegas Valley pizza shop on Tuesday morning, police said. (Joe Stanhibel/Special to Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Low-lake-level pumping station nears completion
Barnard Construction and the Southern Nevada Water Authority give one last tour before the new low-lake-level pumping station is activated.
Trailer: Valley of Fires
Sultan’s Playroom from Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada
Make-A-Wish Southern Nevada’s Scott Rosenzweig talks about granting Sultan Bouras Souissi’s wish, and what went into building it. (John Hornberg/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jim Marsh brings historic replica of rural church to Amargosa Valley
Jim Marsh talks during the opening of the Chapel at Longstreet, a replica of an 1874 Catholic church built in the mining town of Belmont, Nev., at Marsh's Longstreet Casino in Amargosa Valley, Nev. Chase Stevens/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like