At least six fatalities have been reported after a shooting on Thursday night in Plymouth, southwest England. A ten-year-old child and the gunman himself were among the casualties, local authorities announced.
At the end of the day, Police and emergency services were called to a residential area close to the docks in response to reports of a “serious incident involving firearms”.
“Two women and two men were pronounced dead at the scene,” a police officer announced in the early hours of Friday morning following hours of uncertainty about the incident. “One other man, presumed to be the gunman, was also dead on the scene.”
One other woman taken into care by the emergency services died shortly after in hospital, police added.
“We believe that all deaths were caused by gun injuries,” police clarified whilst emphasising that the event was not linked to terrorism.
Shortly after the police announcement, the local MP Luke Pollard expressed his condolences on Twitter and confirmed that one victim was “a child less than ten years old.”
“Other victims were taken to hospital,” added the Labour Party representative. “There are no words for this horror, my condolences and thoughts go to the families of the victims.”
The relation between the gunman and victims remains unclear, as well as various other details about last night’s events that took place in the coastal town of 262, 000 inhabitants.
“The police would like to highlight that this is not a terrorism incident,” said a police spokesperson, adding that they were not looking for anyone in connection with the shooting. “An investigation is underway,” they confirmed.
Local and national news agencies have reported the gunman as being a 23-year-old man who was an employee of Babcock International, an aerospace and defence services company.
Responding to the “shocking” details of the event, Home Secretary Priti Patel said that her thoughts were with those affected, adding: “I ask that everyone remains calm, follows the police advice, and allows the emergency services to carry out their job.”
Mass shootings are rare in the UK and the police rarely carry firearms; the southwest of England is a popular tourist destination and is known as a peaceful part of the country.
Plymouth is home to one of Western Europe’s largest naval bases and frequently harbours nuclear submarines and battleships.