At around 1pm today, Labour MP Jo Cox was shot in Birstall near Leeds. The mother of two was taken by air ambulance to Leeds infirmary, where she was in critical condition before she passed away.
Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, was speaking to locals in Birstall when she was attacked near the town’s library, where she often holds advice surgeries. Witnesses said she was left “bleeding on the pavement” after being shot three times standing up, and then two more times after she fell to the floor, by a man with a ‘makeshift gun’.
Reports state that she intervened in an argument between two men before she was attacked.
Aamir Tahir, of the local Dry Clean Centre, said the gunman was heard shouting “Britain first”.
The owner of a nearby restaurant, Hichem Ben-Abdallah, said he watched a ‘river of people’ run screaming down the road after the attack.
(Photo: the alleged suspect being arrested after the attack)
He said the 41-year-old mother of two was left lying in a pool of blood on the pavement after her assailant struck in Birstall, West Yorkshire.
“He was kicking her as she was lying on the floor.”
He said that after a bystander intervened, the attacker produced a gun, stepped back and shot her twice.
He told The Yorkshire Post: “A lady was down on the floor. The man pulled a gun – it was a makeshift gun, not like something you see on television.
“After the second shot I turned and ran. He walked away very calmly, down the steps. Nobody stopped him – he had a gun.”
Robert Booth of The Guardian writes; “The shopkeeper in a greengrocer opposite Birstall Library, Golden D’Licious, said that he believed the attacker had been waiting for the MP outside the library.
“I was inside the shop and all I heard was a scream and then the gun shot,” he said, without giving his name. “I went out and everyone was dispersing. I couldn’t see because it happened behind a car.””
A police spokesperson stated, “At 12.53 today, police were called to a report of an incident on Market Street, Birstall, where a woman in her 40s had suffered serious injuries and is in a critical condition.
He continued, “A man in his late 40s to early 50s nearby also suffered slight injuries.”
“Armed officers attended and a 52-year-old man was arrested in the area. There are no further details at present.
“Police presence in the area has been increased as a reassurance to the community.”
(Photo of current situation in Birstall by Cathy Killick, a reporter for BBC Look North)
(Photo: Jo’s husband, Brendan Cox, posted this photo of her on Twitter)