The assassination of a British conservative lawmaker was declared a terror attack by police on Friday.
69-year-old Parliament member Sir David Amess was stabbed multiple times by a man who walked into a “meet and greet” Amess was having with his constituents in a Methodist church.
Officials said Amess died at the scene.
Police arrested a 25-year-old suspect and recovered a knife at the church.
“The early investigation has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism,” read a statement from Metropolitan Police at New Scotland Yard.
Official sources said that the suspect arrested was a British national with Somali heritage.
“It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident. But as always, they will keep an open mind,” said Essex Police Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington.
Police went on to say that they believed the suspect acted alone, but that the investigation was ongoing. The identity of the suspect has not been released.
This is the second attack in Europe this week that is suspected to be motivated by Islamic terrorism. On Wednesday a man armed with a bow and arrow attacked random strangers in a town near the capital of Norway, killing 5 and seriously injuring 3 others. Authorities say the suspect in that attack had been flagged for possible radicalism and had posted a video about his Islamist faith containing a threat.
Amess was first elected to parliament in 1983 and is survived by his wife, Julia, and five children. He was known as a champion for animal rights, brexit, and the pro-life cause. He was also one of the longest-serving members in the chamber.
“I think all our hearts are full of shock and deep sadness today,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a video statement about the murder of Amess. “He was one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics.”
Here’s more about the stabbing attack:
‘It will shatter the community’: constituents remember MP David Amess