A man wearing a hoax bomb vest has been shot dead by police in Streatham, London, after injuring three people during a stabbing spree that has been declared a terror attack.
It is believed “to be Islamist-related”, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Lucy D’Orsi said in a statement on Sunday evening.
Pictures posted to social media showed a man thought to be the attacker lying on the floor outside Boots on Streatham High Road.
Police originally said two people had been injured but this was later revised to three. Two were stabbed and another was hurt by broken glass.
One of those injured is in a life-threatening condition.
The force added: “A second victim was treated for minor injuries at the scene before being taken to hospital.
“A third victim has been taken to hospital – their condition is not life-threatening.”
The identity of the attacker is not yet known but Sky News reports he was under active police surveillance at the time.
Armed police and multiple ambulance vehicles were in attendance and videos posted to social media showed chaotic scenes.
Nardos Mulugeta, 52, a mechanical engineer who lives in Streatham, said he heard gunshots before seeing one victim lying in the street. “I heard a shot and then there was a 20-second gap. Then there were three or four shots together, he said.
“I went over and I saw the first victim, a male victim on the ground, near the White Lion Pub, and people were helping him.
“Then five minutes later a woman came over and said I’ve been stabbed too in the back. And then people starting helping her.
“I saw one body laying down further away. He was face-down between Argos and Iceland. It’s really scary.”
Gulled Bulhan, a 19-year-old student from Streatham, claimed to have witnessed the shooting. He told PA Media: “I was crossing the road when I saw a man with a machete and silver canisters on his chest being chased by what I assume was an undercover police officer – as they were in civilian clothing.
“The man was then shot. I think I heard three gun shots but I can’t quite remember. After that I ran into the library to get to safety.
“From the library I saw a load of ambulances and armed police officers arrive on the scene.”
Bulhan said people began running into nearby stores after the incident: “We were all informed to stay in buildings by armed police, until we were evacuated.”
Boris Johnson posted a tweet thanking the emergency services, adding: “My thoughts are with the injured and all those affected.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, said on Twitter: “Terrorists seek to divide us and to destroy our way of life – here in London we will never let them succeed.”
Richard Mustonen-Smith, 59, a response pastor for Ascension Trust, has lived in the area all his life.
He told PA: “I’m shocked it’s happened in Streatham. I’ve been here all my life. We’re always getting accidents down here but not this.
“My grandson was in the Odeon and they got told to go out the back because there was a bomb. They got them to go out of the back of the cinema. They were there to watch a film.
“When it’s a member of your family so close to you you don’t expect it. You’re always worried about your family being on the streets but this is even worse.
“I heard two people got stabbed and apparently one man was shouting Allahu Akbar but people thought he was just a crazy man, so he got away. Apparently he had two rucksacks.”