What started as a warm summer evening in a British park ended in a series of deaths. An individual reportedly went on a stabbing rampage, and when the dust cleared, three people had lost their lives. Law enforcement announced they are officially investigating the incident as a terrorist attack.
The attacks occurred on Sunday, according to law enforcement, when a 25-year-old man believed to be the lone attacker, went on his rampage, which ended with three people dead. Officials stated they are still unclear as to the individual's motive. They also said that they are not currently looking for any other assailants, and as such, the country's terrorism level has not been raised to "substantial."
The attack that occurred on Saturday in Forbury Gardens left three dead, and three others reported as seriously wounded. The park is located in Reading, 40 miles west of London, and called home by 200,000 residents.
Forensic officers searched the park with a fine-tooth comb for any available evidence. However, the nation's counterterrorism officer stated that the motivation for the act, viewed as horrific, is still very much unclear.
In a statement given by John Campbell, the chief constable of Thames Valley Police, officers were dispatched to reports of stabbings occurring in and around the park. Arriving just before 7 pm, the officers found what they termed a "horrific" scene. They also stated that they apprehended the suspect within five minutes of their arrival.
Law enforcement officials have not offered any information as to who the apprehended suspect may be. However, several news media agencies have reported his name as Khairi Saadallh. Saadallah is reportedly a Libyan seeking asylum and currently residing in Reading.
Court records show that an individual, using the same name and approximately the same age, was previously sentenced to two months in prison just last year, having been found to have assaulted an emergency worker. The same individual was again charged for another assault last year, this time on the judge that had initially sentenced him.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who met with both police and senior ministers on Sunday to receive an update on the ongoing investigation, remarked that he was “appalled and sickened” by the attack.
Police officers kept the area of the stabbings cordoned off, as well as the roads leading park Sunday. Blue and white tents were seen to have been erected near the site of the attacks. Reports stated that officers who were heavily armed, stormed an apartment located one mile from the scene, and reports of a loud bang were heard.
Was this attack indeed one based on terrorism?