Armed police and paramedics were dispatched to the Keyham neighborhood in Plymouth, near the town docks, around 6:10 pm (5:10 pm GMT) in response to what has been described as a “serious gun incident” Thursday evening.
Four people – “two women and two men” – were confirmed dead at the scene while a third woman died in hospital, Devon and Cornwall Police said in a statement early Friday morning.
Luke Pollard, a local MP, said a young girl was among those killed in an incident he called “unspeakably gruesome”.
“Another man, believed to be the assailant, also died at the scene. All are believed to have died of gunshot wounds, ”police said.
“Devon and Cornwall Police stress that this is not a terrorism-related incident,” he added.
The UK has strict gun ownership rules and one of the lowest gun murder rates in the world. Mass shootings are rare and gun regulations were tightened after a man with the right to own a gun broke into a primary school in the Scottish town of Dunblane in 1996 and opened the fire on children and teachers, killing 17 people.
Sharron Turner, who lives behind the scenes of the shooting, told The Times newspaper that a gunman “smashed” through the front door of a semi-detached house before shooting a young mother and her aged daughter. ‘about five years. Turner, 57, said he was told the man, who was dressed in black and gray, was armed with a semi-automatic weapon.
The shooter then escaped through a park behind the house.
“We heard a number of loud bangs which I thought sounded like gunshots,” the newspaper quoted Turner. “Then he ran into the park and there was more gunfire. “
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel called the incident “shocking” and urged people to follow the advice of the police.
Update: Police confirmed six people died in the shooting at #keyham in #plymouth. More and more people are being treated for their injuries in hospital. So horribly awful. My condolences and my thoughts go out to the families.
– Luke Pollard MP (@LukePollard) August 12, 2021
Keir Starmer, the leader of the opposition, also expressed his shock at what had happened.
“It is clear that tragedy has struck Keyham,” Starmer wrote on Twitter. “My thoughts are with the families and neighbors of those caught up in this nightmare. I pay tribute to our emergency services who ran to events we were all fleeing from. “
Police cordoned off the area and said investigations were continuing.