It was around 10:30 last night that a man went on a stabbing rampage in Russell Square in Central London. He ended up injuring six people, one of whom was a 60-year-old American who eventually died on the scene. The other victims hailed from England, Israel, and Australia.
Within five or six minutes of receiving calls from witnesses about the incident, police were on scene. They tasered the suspect, a Somali 19-year-old who had emigrated from Norway in 2002. The suspect is now in custody, facing murder charges.
Police have not ruled out terrorism, but based on what they know so far, the man’s “mental health issues” played a role, and his victims seemed to have been chosen at random.
“Whilst the investigation is not yet complete – all of the work that we have done so far, increasingly points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental health issues.
“At this time we believe this was a spontaneous attack and the victims were selected at random.”
Express reported that “police had searched an address in north London and will search another in south London later on.”
Even though officials seem to be downplaying terrorism, following news of the stabbing attack, ISIS supporters celebrated on social media. From Express:
Two men, allegedly of Middle Eastern descent, were seen acting suspiciously outside the hotel after the incident, according to witnesses.
A 35-year-old witness, who wished to remain anonymous, told Express.co.uk: “I saw two men of Middle Eastern descent acting suspiciously outside the Imperial Hotel, on Southampton Row.
“One man made off on a motorbike down the wrong side of the road with the other man heading in a different direction.”
Hours after the attack Islamic State (ISIS) jihadis started spreading the news through messaging app, Telegram, as they shared photos and updates on the attack.
We’ll know more details in the coming days about the suspect, whether there were others coordinating with the suspect, and the attacker’s motives.