Gunman kills several in England
London, June 2, 2010
Police launched a huge manhunt on Wednesday for a gunman who had gone on the rampage, killing a number of people in towns in and around the scenic Lake District of northwest England.
Locals, walkers and tourists were told to stay indoors after reports of shootings in towns in the county of Cumbria, including Whitehaven, Seascale and Coniston, while motorists were warned not to pick up hitchhikers.
'We believe there have been a number of fatalities and several people have been injured in a number of shooting incidents,' said Stuart Hyde, assistant chief constable of Cumbria Police.
He said he would not confirm numbers until he had spoken to relatives. The BBC reported that 11 people had been shot although it was not known how many were fatalities.
Police said every armed officer in the county was involved in trying to capture the gunman, named as 52-year-old Derrick Bird, a Whitehaven taxi driver.
No official reason was given for the shootings which began in the coastal town of Whitehaven at 0935 GMT before there were other incidents across the region.
Another taxi driver from Whitehaven, who declined to be named, told Reuters that Bird, who he had known for about 20 years, had shot two other taxi drivers in a dispute.
'It came out of the blue. He is a quiet guy,' the taxi driver said. Receptionist Helen Owens, 27, working in a lawyers' office about 150 metres down the road from the shooting, said she heard two shots.
'We heard a bang and then we saw a police officer running towards where the shooting happened,' she told Reuters.
'I popped my head out of the door and saw him stop and flag down a passing car and jump into the car with another guy and then we heard another bang.'
Bird was last seen heading towards the central area of Cumbria, in the heart of the Lake District. 'Derrick Bird has abandoned his car in the Boot area and he is now believed to be travelling by foot,' a police statement said. - Reuters