MP David Amess Killing Was “Terrorist Incident”, UK Police Say
Update (Saturday 0830 ET): The fatal stabbing of Conservative MP Sir David Amess has formally been declared an “act of terrorism” by the Metropolitan Police (Met).
“The fatal stabbing in Leigh-on-Sea has tonight been declared as a terrorist incident, with the investigation being led by Counter Terrorism Policing,” Met wrote in a statement released late Friday.
“The early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism,” the statement continued.
Met said officers arrived at the scene shortly after 1205 local time Friday and “found a man [Amess] with multiple stab wounds. He was given emergency medical treatment by emergency services, but sadly died at the scene.”
At first, authorities identified the suspect as a “25-year-old British man” who was arrested on murder suspicion at the scene. Then hours later, British media reported the suspect was of “African appearance” and identified as Somalian. Now the suspect has been labeled a terrorist, and it seems that authorities/media initially downplayed who the suspect was so as not to antagonize specific communities.
Authorities believe the Somalian acted alone and are “not seeking anyone else in connection with the incident at this time.”
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner noted that the suspect was not on a database of terror suspects. The decision to label the brutal slaying of Amess as an act of terrorism confirms that the killer was motivated to use violence to further his cause.
* * *
Update (Friday 1400ET): The Telegraph reports that police have arrested a 25-year-old Somalian man on suspicion of murdering the Conservative MP Sir David Amess.
Ben-Julian Harrington, Chief Constable Essex Police:
“It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident.”
A witness who described seeing the suspect being taken away by the police said he was calm and compliant.
* * *
Update (Friday 1004ET): Despite receiving medical treatment on scene, Amess was unable to be revived and has died of his wounds, according to the Mirror.
According to Sky News, a man walked into the church around 12pm and stabbed Amess multiple times, after which the suspect was arrested on suspicion of murder, according a spokesperson for the Essex Police.
“We were called to Eastwood Road North shortly after 12.05pm. Sadly, a man later died,” they said, adding “A man was arrested at the scene. We are not looking for anyone else.”
One witness to the scene, Anthony Gavin Fitch, said “As I was walking across the road I saw a few people sitting on the wall outside the church and one was on the phone to the police.”
“I heard it was a stabbing from a lady who was inside the church at the time. She was upset and said David Amess had been stabbed three times. She said there was an altercation and then the suspect stabbed him. I think he’s still in the church, he (Sir David) hasn’t been taken out.“
* * *
Conservative MP Sir David Amess was stabbed several times while attending a constituency surgery meeting at a church in Essex, according to LBC.
Armed police and forensics officers were seen outside the Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea a short while ago. Amess. 69, was receiving treatment at the scene, according to Sky News. His condition is unknown.
A man has been arrested per the police.
A man’s been arrested following an incident in #LeighonSea.
We were called to reports of a stabbing in Eastwood Rd North shortly after 12.05pm.
A man was arrested shortly after & we’re not looking for anyone else.
We’ll bring you more info when we have it. pic.twitter.com/U3dU7btoz7
— Essex Police (@EssexPoliceUK) October 15, 2021
“David Amess Southend MP stabbed in Belfairs Methodist church Eastwood road literally as I was outside the building,” wrote one person online.
Another tweeted “Something big going on outside Belfairs Methodist Church on Eastwood Road North near the Woodcutters.”
Something big going on outside Belfairs Methodist Church on Eastwood Road North near the Woodcutters 😳 Police, ambulances and air ambulance!! Apparent stabbing!! @Essex_Echo @YourSouthend pic.twitter.com/VQ4vKpR2qX
— Lee Jay (@LeeJordo1) October 15, 2021
BREAKING: Sir David Amess MP has been stabbed multiple times at his local constituency surgery at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.
It is believed he has been receiving treatment at the scene.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) October 15, 2021
A constituency surgery is a series of one-on-one meetings that an MP will hold with members of the public, where people may raise concerns over governance. Arness has been a member of parliament since 1983. The stabbing comes five years after Labour MP Jo Cox was killed on her way to hold a surgery with constituents in Batley and Spen, according to ITV.
Sat, 10/16/2021 – 08:45