Domestic terrorism hits downtown London

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On March 22, 52-year-old Khalid Masood drove an SUV down the length of Westminster Bridge through a crowd of pedestrians.

Masood proceeded to drive his vehicle into a fence surrounding the Houses of Parliament, after which he got out of his car and approached Police Constable Keith Palmer with a knife.

Masood repeatedly stabbed Palmer. It was reported by The Telegraph that Masood, “Was shot dead moments later by a close protection officer attached to Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.”

The attack ultimately left five people dead, including Masood, and over 50 people were injured.

In an article by the BBC following the attack, it was reported that Masood had a criminal history dating back to November 1983 for criminal damage, posession of a weapon, and assault. “He was known to police and has a range of previous convictions for assaults, including grievous bodily harm, possession of offensive weapons, and public order offences,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

In a speech on March 23, London Prime Minister Theresa May shared that Masood had once been under investigation by MI5—the UK’s security intelligence agency—“in relation to concerns about violent extremism.” May reported that Masood was not under any active investigations during the time of the attack.

Masood had rented the car, a Hyundai SUV, used in the attack and stayed in a hotel nearby the night before.

Among those that were killed was a US tourist, Kurt Cochran, who was celebrating his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife Melissa Cochran, who remains in critical condition. 

Additionally, UK-born Aysha Frade was killed. Frade was on her way to pick up her two daughters from school when she was killed in the attack. A fifth victim, 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes, was unable to survive his injuries and passed away on the evening of March 23. Rhodes had left from visiting a friend in the hospital and was crossing the bridge at the time of the assault.

In her address to Parliament, May included that among those injured on the Westminster Bridge were 12 Britons, three French children, two Romanians, four South Koreans, one German, one Pol, one Irish, one Chinese, one Italian, one American, and two Greeks. People spanning many nationalities were affected.

“The injured also included three police officers who were returning from an event recognizing their bravery,” May said. “Two of those three remain in critical conditions. This was an attack on free people everywhere. On behalf of the British people, I would like to thank our friends and allies around the world for standing with us at this time.”

The attack and Masood remain under investigation at this time.

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