|A visible and heightened armed police presence was noticed on the streets on London - within minutes after the attack|
A knife-wielding man went on a deadly rampage in the heart of Britain's seat of power Wednesday, ploughing a car into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge before stabbing a police officer to death inside the gates of Parliament. 5 people were killed, including the assailant, and 40 others were injured in what Prime Minister Theresa May condemned as a "sick and depraved terrorist attack."
Lawmakers, lords, staff and visitors were locked down after the man was shot by police within the perimeter of Parliament, just yards (meters) from entrances to the building itself and in the shadow of the iconic Big Ben clock tower. He died, as did three pedestrians on the bridge, and the police officer.
A doctor who treated the wounded from the bridge said some had "catastrophic" injuries. 3 police officers, several French teenagers on a school trip, 2 Romanian tourists and 5 South Korean visitors were among the injured. Police said they were treating the attack as terrorism. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley said police believed there was only 1 attacker, "but it would be foolish to be overconfident early on." He said an unarmed policeman, 3 civilians and the attacker died. 40 others, including 3 police officers, were injured.
Islamic extremism was suspected in the attack, Rowley said, adding that authorities believe they know the assailant's identity but would not reveal it while the investigation was ongoing. The threat level for international terrorism in the U.K. was already listed at severe, meaning an attack was "highly likely."
Speaking outside 10 Downing St. after chairing a meeting of government's emergency committee, COBRA, May said that level would not change. She said attempts to defeat British values of democracy and freedom through terrorism would fail.
"Tomorrow morning, Parliament will meet as normal," she said. Londoners and visitors "will all move forward together, never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart."