A man suspected of stabbing two people to death in a terror attack on London Bridge was a former prisoner convicted of terrorism offences and released last year, police said Saturday.
The knifeman, wearing a suspected hoax explosive device, was shot dead by police after the daylight assault on Friday that also saw bystanders intervene to try and disarm him.
Three more people were wounded in the stabbing spree that came less than two weeks before Britain votes in a general election, and recalled memories of a three-man attack two years ago on London Bridge that killed eight.
Police identified the suspect as 28-year-old Usman Khan, saying they were not actively seeking others in relation to the incident.
Niel Basu, head of UK counter-terrorism policing said in a statement,
“This individual was known to authorities, having been convicted in 2012 for terrorism offences. He was released from prison in December 2018 on licence.”
Basu said Khan had attended an event on Friday afternoon at Fishmonger’s Hall, a historic building on the north side of the bridge in central London.
“We believe that the attack began inside before he left the building and proceeded onto London Bridge, where he was detained and subsequently confronted and shot by armed officers,” he said.
Footage filmed by eyewitnesses and shared on social media showed people tackling the suspect on the ground before the arrival of the police. One man, wearing a suit and tie, was seen carrying a large knife away from the group.
— Chris Lloyd (@Chris_d_lloyd) November 29, 2019
“We were all kicking him and holding him to the ground”
Tour guide Stevie Hurst was one of the people who stopped the #LondonBridge attack suspect.
He said they wanted to “make sure… he wasn’t going to harm another single human being”
— BBC Radio 5 Live (@bbc5live) November 29, 2019
A tour guide named Stevie Hurst, who ran from his car to the scene, told media sources that “everyone was just on top of him trying to bundle him to the ground”.
“I saw that the knife was still in his hand so I just put a foot in to try and kick him in the head: we were trying to do as much as we could to try and dislodge the knife,” he added.