‘We saw the whole incident,’ James Heneghan said fighting back tears. ‘They were hacking at this poor guy, hacking him, chopping him.’ Heneghan had just witnessed two men hacking another man to death with machetes. Prime minister David Cameron has described the killing as ‘truly shocking’ and called an emergency Cobra meeting amid reports the attack, which took place in south-east London, was terror-related.
The incident happened in broad daylight. The Ministry of Defense is carefully examining evidence. The victim was a member of the armed forces, and the killing occurred close to the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Witnesses said that the attack took place around 2:20 London time. After the two men cut the man repeatedly, they drug him into the middle of the street “like a piece of meat”, and urged the bystanders to take pictures of them.
When police arrive, the two charged them with their machetes and at least one gun. Both men were shot by police, and were taken to separate hospitals.
Graham Wilders was driving by when he saw two men standing over another. His first impression was that they were helping him. After he parked his car, he was walking back towards the scene when he saw one of the men, dressed in all black, pull what appeared to be a handgun from the middle of his back and begin waving it around. He walked back to the gate on his property. Some school children were walking toward the area, and he told them to return to their school immediately.
“I’ll be talking to everyone who is involved, we will be trying to do everything possible to try and ensure calm in the area. People will be very, very shocked,” Woolwich and Greenwich MP Nick Raynsfordtold told BBC Radio 5 Live.
Councillor Chris Roberts, the leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich, said: “We are deeply shocked by today’s events by the Barracks in Woolwich and our thoughts are with the family of the victim. Greenwich is a borough whose history and evolution is intertwined with military, both army and navy and any attack by the barracks feels like a strike at the heart of our community. The council will assist the police with their investigations and provide any support requested of us.”
Scotland Yard commander Simon Letchford reminded everyone that it was still very early in the investigation.
“I can understand that this incident will cause community concerns, and I would like to reiterate that we are investigating what has taken place today, he said. There will continue to be an increased police presence in this area, and the surrounding areas this evening. That presence will continue as long as is needed. I am asking people to remain calm, and avoid unnecessary speculation.”
The Guardian Express