LONDON – A day after two people were killed in a terror-related stabbing attack on a bridge in central London, reports emerged of the brave actions taken by members of the public to detain the alleged assailant before he was shot dead by British police.
Scotland Yard identified the suspect as Usman Khan, 28, an extremist previously jailed for plotting to bomb the London Stock Exchange, Britain’s Parliament and the U.S. Embassy. After serving prison time for his role in that plot, Khan was released in 2018 and fitted with an electronic tag to monitor his movements, according to a report in The Times (of London). Khan was wearing a fake suicide belt when he was fatally shot Friday. Police feared it was real and that he was trying to detonate it.
The two people killed in the incident on London Bridge have not been named. Three others, a man and two women, remain in the hospital with serious injuries.
While Khan’s motivations remain unclear, investigators are treating the incident as terrorism and it marks the third time in the run up to the last four national votes that Britain has experienced a terrorist attack. A general election is taking place Dec. 12.
On Saturday, investigators confirmed that Khan began his assault inside Fishmongers’ Hall, a historic venue near the north end of London Bridge. There, he was registered to take part in a conference on rehabilitating former prisoners. It was organized by the University of Cambridge. Police believe that after Khan started his attack inside the hall, he proceeded to the bridge looking for more victims. They believe he acted alone.
However, according to footage that has circulated on social media, some of which has subsequently been confirmed in statements from police and witnesses, at some point when Khan got to London Bridge he was tackled by passers-by.