The killing of three people in a park in Reading yesterday is being treated as a terrorist attack, police have said.
Six people were stabbed in Forbury Gardens in Reading last night by a lone attacker. Three people were declared dead and a further three people are currently in a critical condition in the Royal Berkshire Hospital.
The investigation has now been taken over by Counter Terror Policing South East, a Thames Valley Police spokesperson said.
Police this evening named Khairi Saadallah as the only suspect in the incident. The 25-year old man, thought to be from Libya originally, was brought to the attention of MI5 in 2019, the BBC reported. He was arrested after being tackled to the ground by a police officer at the scene yesterday.
James Furlong, head of history at Holt School in Wokingham, was today named as one of three people killed in the incident, In a letter to parents co-heads Anne Kennedy and Katie Pearce wrote that “he truly inspired everyone he taught”.
More than a dozen armed police were seen searching a block of flats in the town late last night.
Thames Valley Police chief constable John Campbell said: “This was a truly tragic incident and the thoughts of Thames Valley Police are with all those who have been affected.”
He urged the public to avoid the area while the police investigation is underway, and added that Thames Valley Police “would like to hear from anyone who has video footage”.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson chaired a meeting in Number 10 this morning with security officials, police and senior ministers including Home Secretary Priti Patel, Downing Street has said.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The PM was updated on the ongoing investigation into the fatal stabbings in Reading yesterday.”
Johnson was one of many senior public figures to express their condolences to victims’ families. The PM tweeted: “My thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading and my thanks to the emergency services on the scene.”
The home secretary said in a statement: “This evening we saw a senseless attack on people simply enjoying a Saturday evening with family and friends. My heart, prayers and thoughts are with all of those affected and to the people of Reading who will be deeply shocked and concerned by this terrible incident.
Detective chief inspector Ian Hunter said: “We have made one arrest and at this stage we are not looking for any other people in connection with this incident.
“There is no intelligence to suggest that there is any further danger to the public. However, we urge people to remain vigilant and report anything suspicious by calling police.”
Thames Valley Police said the incident was not related to a Black Lives Matter protest that took place in Reading earlier in the day yesterday.
Neil Basu, head of the National Police Chiefs Council’s counter terrorism policing unit is expected to make a statement shortly.