Armed Police Fill London Streets Morning After "Deranged" Knife Attacker Kills US Woman
London has boosted up its police response, with armed police on the streets today after a 19-year old Norwegian citizen, of Somali descent, stabbed and killed a US woman in her 60's and injured five others in Central London's Russell Square at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night as reported las night.
The 5 injured people were British, American, Israeli and Australian but none are thought to have suffered life threatening injuries. Two of the injured victims remain in a hospital, while three others have been discharged. The attacker was arrested on the scene and remains in police custody on suspicion of murder.
The incident came within hours of an announcement by London police that they were putting more armed officers on the streets. The idea was to sustain public confidence following attacks by ISIS-inspired groups in Europe. As CBC adds, the move was important because police in Britain do not carry guns for the most part — a principle that remains unchanged. Even with the additional armed officers, most of London's 31,000 police officers will not be armed.
"In some of our big iconic locations, we've already got armed patrols — if you look at Parliament, Downing Street — so it's not entirely new," Metropolitan Police chief Bernard Hogan-Howe said Wednesday. "I think people understand that where you are going to have people as enemies who've got guns, we've got to have guns."
An armed police officer attends the scene of a deadly knife attack in Russell Square in London. (Neil Hall/Reuters)
After initially attributing the attack to terrorism, Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, head of counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, later retracted saying early indications suggested that mental health was a factor. Per reports from CBC News, Rowley said that "we are keeping an open mind regarding the motive, and terrorism remains one line of inquiry being explored."
While we appreciate the UK's attempts to shift attention away from "Islam" and blaming the perpetrator's mental health...