LONDON -- A brazen, brutal attack near a military barracks in London on Wednesday afternoon left one man dead and two suspects in the hospital. British Prime Minister David Cameron said the attack appeared to be terror-related.
The attack occurred in the southeast London neighborhood of Woolwich, just a few blocks from the Royal Artillery Barracks.
Two men reportedly attacked another man. Witnesses said the two men were shot by police and a number of weapons — including butchers’ knives — could be seen on the street, which was splattered by blood.
French President Francois Hollande, speaking at a press conference in Paris with Cameron, said it was a British soldier who was killed. Cameron didn’t immediately confirm that fact but the Britain’s Ministry of Defense said it was urgently investigating the attack.
Cameron did say said there were “strong indications” it was a terrorist incident.
“We have suffered these attacks before, we have always beaten them back,” Cameron said. “We will not be cowed, we will never buckle.”
Live television images of the scene showed a trail of blood staining a pavement, cordoned off streets and crime scene investigators marking the scene.
The British Cabinet’s emergency committee immediately called a meeting and the prime minister’s Downing Street office said security was stepped up at barracks across London.
Commander Simon Letchford said one man was found dead and two men were shot by police and taken to separate London hospitals.
One of the men was in serious condition, according to London Ambulance Service.
Fred Oyat, a 44-year-old who lives in a high-rise near where the attack occurred, said he heard four gun shots and then went straight to the window.
“I saw one man lying there bleeding, another lying on the pavement being disarmed. A policeman was pointing a gun at him. A third man was lying further up the street ... he was bleeding profusely,” Oyat said. “There were four knives on the ground — big kitchen knives. The knives were very bloody.”
Cameron’s office said he was cutting short his Paris trip to return to London and he would chair another emergency committee meeting Thursday.
David Dixon, head teacher of a nearby primary school, saw a body lying in the road outside and said police told him there was a serious incident. He told the BBC he then made sure children were inside and put the school into a lockdown mode. He said he then heard shots fired.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is called in when officers are involved in shootings, confirmed that it is investigating the incident.
The barracks — which house a number of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and independent companies of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards — were the site of shooting events during the 2012 London Olympics.