Suspect Shooting Newest Twist in London Saga
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And I'm Robert Siegel.
In London today, another incident in the city's transportation system. Police pursued a man through a subway station where they tackled him and then shot and killed him. London's chief of police says the shooting was directly linked to the investigation into yesterday's attacks in the city. There were two arrests today, and police released video images of four men thought to be involved in yesterday's incidents. NPR's Anthony Kuhn has details from London.
ANTHONY KUHN reporting:
For the second day in a row, violence in the London Underground sent horrified passengers streaming into the city streets. Today's incident began at around 10 AM at the Stockwell Underground station. Eyewitness Anthony Larkin told the BBC what he had seen.
Mr. ANTHONY LARKIN (Eyewitness): I seen these police officers in uniform and out of uniform, shouting, `Get down. Get down.' And I seen this guy who appears to have a bomb belt and wires coming out, and people were panicking. And I heard two shots being fired.
KUHN: Another witness said that the man was dressed in a thick coat, and that police had shot him five times at point-blank range as he lay on the ground in the station. A police statement later said that the man had emerged from a house under police observation in connection with yesterday's attacks. Surveillance officers then trailed him to the station. At a press briefing, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair described the final confrontation.
Sir IAN BLAIR (Commissioner, Metropolitan Police): I need to make clear that any death is deeply regrettable, but as I understand the situation, the man was challenged and refused to obey police instructions.
KUHN: At the same conference, London's assistant police commissioner, Andy Heyman said that police investigations had found that bombs had been partially detonated at each of the four sites in yesterday's bombing attacks on three Underground trains and a bus. He said these were homemade explosives hidden in bags or backpacks. He also released grainy video pictures of four men suspected of involvement in the attacks. The men's features were clearly discernable. One appeared to have a backpack on, and two of them wore baseball caps. Police say they don't know if the man they shot was one of the four. Heyman tried to jog commuters' memories.
Mr. ANDY HEYMAN (Assistant Commissioner, Metropolitan Police): Do you recognize any of these men? Did you see them at the three Underground stations or on the bus? Did you see these men together before or after the incident?
KUHN: Heyman also said that police had raided a home in west London, and that further raids were under way in other locations.
Mr. HEYMAN: As we speak, there are two further addresses being entered by Metropolitan Police officers in connection with this investigation. What this demonstrates is how fast-moving this investigation is.
KUHN: Police later said that they had arrested one man near the Stockwell station and another in Birmingham in connection with the case. They also evacuated a train station in Birmingham.
London's Muslim community remained tense after this morning's shooting. Earlier, police with sniffer dogs responded to a bomb scare at the East London Mosque. And in Aylesbury, some 40 miles northwest of London, police said that someone had dumped gasoline near the house of Germaine Lindsey, one of the four suicide bombers who died in the July 7th attacks in London.
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KUHN: Just outside the police cordons around the Stockwell station, retiree John Priest(ph) stood watching quietly. As a boy, he had been injured in bombing raids in World War II. He said that London had so far been lucky to have escaped more serious devastation.
Mr. JOHN PRIEST (Retiree): They're using the type of weapons which are obviously detonated and can do a great deal of damage. But if they start doing other things which I won't say, 'cause I think they could, it could be a massive, massive problem.
KUHN: The former commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Sir John Stevens, suggested Britons could expect a protracted struggle.
Sir JOHN STEVENS (Former Commissioner, Metropolitan Police): What the general kind of consensus is, this type of terrorist campaign which is global could well last for 10, 20 years.
KUHN: Some Londoners are already saying they don't feel safe riding the Underground. They may not feel their city's under siege yet, but there is a sense that things could get worse and stay that way for some time. Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, London.