Three people were fatally stabbed and three others seriously injured in an English city following a rampage at a park Saturday, an incident British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called “appalling.”
A 25-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder, police said. The deadly incident took place at a park in the center of Reading, an English city about 40 miles west of London.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: “My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene.”
Police said that the motive for the attack was still unclear, but at the moment, they are not treating it as terrorism-related.
Ian Hunter, detective chief superintendent of the Thames Valley Police, said in a statement that officers are keeping an “open mind as to the motivation” and were being supported by counterterrorism police officers.
The U.K.’s current terrorism threat level is “substantial,” meaning an attack is a strong possibility. It was last set at “critical,” the highest level, in 2017, a year when Britain had five terrorist attacks.
Thames Valley Police said they arrived at the scene around 7 p.m. Authorities urged people not to share graphic videos circulating on social media that showed members of the emergency services tending to bloodied people on the ground.
The incident occurred in Forbury Gardens, a popular park in the center of the city. In lockdown, parks have served as a respite for many, a place to meet and socialize, especially on warm-weather days such as Saturday.
Earlier Saturday, a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest took place in the same area. The police stressed there was nothing to suggest the two were related.
“There have been some reports that this incident was linked to the Black Lives Matter protest which took place in Reading earlier this afternoon,” Hunter said. “I can confirm that this incident is not connected. It occurred around three hours after the protest had concluded.”
Matt Rodda, the local member of Parliament, told Sky News that the incident was “absolutely dreadful” and that he was unaware of any specific threats to the area. He said “a number of people were stabbed and a number of people quite seriously injured. . . . This is something that is quite unheard of in Reading.”
Kit Malthouse, the government minister for crime and policing, tweeted that it was a “horrific, dreadful incident.”
(c) 2020, The Washington Post · Karla Adam