A gunman went on a murderous rampage in Plymouth last night, killing at least five people at random before turning his long-barreled gun on himself.
The shooter’s mother and a five-year-old girl are among the victims believed to be dead, with witnesses claiming two dog walkers were also hit during the bloodbath after the gunman escaped through a park behind Biddick Drive in North Prospect just after 6pm.
Devon and Cornwall police confirmed last night that six people had died – three female and three male, including the gunman – with other people injured and needing treatment following the rampage. They added that the attack was not being treated as a terror incident.
The once quiet cul-de-sac where the killings took place was placed under lockdown as emergency response teams raced to the scene yesterday.
Local MPs urged residents to ‘remain calm’ and stay indoors as they awaited more information, with Labour MP Luke Pollard describing the shocking scenes as ‘a very grim day for our city and our community’.
The incident – the first in Britain involving an ‘active shooter’ for 11 years – was so serious that Home Secretary Priti Patel was given regular updates.
Last night, armed police, the Hazardous Area Response Unit (HART), National Police Air Service and around three air ambulances raced to the scene of the ‘serious and tragic incident following reports of ‘loud bangs’ and ‘gun shots’ just after 6pm.
One witness told MailOnline: ‘I was at my mate’s house after going to the gym. We were in his kitchen making some sandwiches and suddenly we heard shouting followed by screaming.
‘We really thought nothing of it as the area can be noisy sometimes. We soon after heard what we thought was a firework going off so then walked towards the front off the house.
‘We then saw the body of the gunman and called 999.’
The Hazardous Area Response Unit (HART), National Police Air Service and around three air ambulances raced to the scene in North Prospect after witnesses in the area have described hearing ‘loud bangs’ and ‘gun shots’ in Biddick Drive just after 6pm
Around three air ambulances raced to the scene in North Prospect, Plymouth, this evening after ‘serious’ incident began to unfold
Biddick Drive, a once sleepy residential cul-de-sac in Plymouth that became the scene of chaos yesterday evening after a gunman opened fire and killed five people
A cordon is put in place as police officer attend the scene where a gunman opened fire and killed at least five people
Armed police descend upon the scene in Plymouth tonight as and locals are urged by MPs to stay indoors
An air ambulance lands near the scene where the shooter went on a murderous rampage in Plymouth last night, killing at least five people at random
Another witness, Sharron Turner, 57, who lives near the scene of the shooting, said she saw the gunman, dressed in grey and black and armed with a semi-automatic weapon, ‘kick in the door of a house’ before he shot a young mother and her daughter, who was aged about five.
She told The Times: ‘We heard a number of loud bangs which I said sounded like gunshots. Then he ran into the park and there were further shots. I heard someone say he had shot his brother.’
The resident added that locals had been told to stay inside their homes amid rumours that a second gunman had run towards a Lidl supermarket.
After the attack the gunman escaped through a park behind the house in Northdown Crescent and shot two dog walkers, she claimed
‘We heard a number of loud bangs which I said sounded like gunshots,’ Miss Turner told The Times. ‘Then he ran into the park and there were further shots. I heard someone say he had shot his brother.’
Another resident, John, said: ‘I heard the air ambulance helicopters, and two of them landed in the playing field behind us.
‘Then we could hear police cars screeching and we saw armed response officers running up the hill, carrying guns. And loads of ambulances arrived. I went out to check that people were all right and to ask if there was anything we could do, and the Police Community Support Officers told everyone to get back indoors.
‘Then we saw the ambulances take people away. It all seemed to be happening at the man’s family home, I think. People are saying that the man has killed himself. He’s only a young guy, late teens or early 20s.’
Robert Pinkerton, 54, told Plymouth Live he was on Henderson Place, when he heard a ‘loud bang’ and saw the gunman wielding a shotgun.
He turned a corner and ‘bumped a bloke’ when he saw the shotgun and quickly ‘swerved’.
Mr Pinkerton then saw an injured woman in the doorway of a hairdressers and witnessed a man trying to give her medical attention.
And Michelle Abdullah wrote on Facebook: ‘Sad day, a man shot his whole family then went on a random shoot out. Police right outside my house. Three air ambulances at the park out my back garden.’
A video posted on social media showed a body covered in a sheet lying on a pavement as an armed policeman stood close by.
Johnny Mercer, the Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View, sought to reassure his constituents on Twitter, saying the incident was ‘not terror-related’ and the suspect involved was not ‘on the run’.
As the scenes continue to unfold, local Labour MP Luke Pollard tweeted: ‘Really worrying news coming out of Keyham in Plymouth. Please can everyone stay safe, stay indoors and follow police advice.’
He added: ‘Awaiting confirmation of number of victims but this looks like a very grim day for our city and our community.
‘Please can I ask that you think of the families and our community and not share any images or videos of any of the victims. #keyham.’
And Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘The incident in Plymouth is shocking and my thoughts are with those affected.I have spoken to the Chief Constable and offered my full support.
‘I urge everyone to remain calm, follow police advice and allow our emergency services to get on with their jobs.’
And Labour leader Keir Starmer said: ‘There’s much we don’t know about the shocking events in Plymouth.
‘However it’s clear tragedy has hit Keyham. My thoughts are with the families and neighbours of those caught up in this nightmare. I pay tribute to our emergency services who ran towards events we’d all run from. ‘
Elsewhere, shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds tweeted: ‘Truly terrible news. Thinking of the families and friends of those who have died and those injured. Thank you to our remarkable emergency services.
‘I’ve been in contact with local representatives to express my support for the whole community of Plymouth on this awful evening.’
And Plymouth Argyle FC tweeted: ‘Our hearts go out to victims of tonight’s tragic incident in our city, alongside their families, friends, and the wider Plymouth community.’
Tonight, London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote: ‘Deeply saddened by the loss of life in Plymouth this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected and the emergency service workers responding to this tragic incident.’
Emergency crews, including armed police, arrive to the scene following reports of multiple shootings in the Keyham area
Officers stand at the scene of the major incident in Plymouth as a nearby school sports centre is closed down and people are told to stay indoors
Police remain at the scene after the serious firearms incident in the Keyham area of Plymouth last night
Emergency services arrive to the the scene following a shooting in Keyham in Plymouth, which saw a gunman kill five people
Forensic teams carry out their investigations after the gunman went on a murderous rampage in Plymouth tonight
The once quiet cul-de-sac where the killings took place was placed under lockdown as emergency response teams raced to the scene
A police officer patrols the area with a sniffer dog as emergency crews arrive to Biddick Drive in North Prospect just after 6pm
Police put a tent up in the area and a cordons is put in place around a block of flats to prevent pedestrians accessing the area
The Hazardous Area Response Unit (HART), National Police Air Service and paramedics are at the scene
Members of the force and forensic teams descend upon the area as the region was placed under lockdown as emergency responded to the shooting
Elsewhere Alison Hernandez, police and crime commissioner for the area, said: ‘Aware of tonight’s tragic incident in Plymouth. Thank you to Devon and Cornwall Police for dealing with the situation. Thoughts with those directly affected and the City of Plymouth tonight.’
Devon and Cornwall Police said: ‘Police were called to a serious firearms incident in Biddick Drive, in the Keyham area of Plymouth at around 6.10pm today [Thursday 12 August].
‘Officers and ambulance staff attended the scene.
‘Following attendance at the scene, two females and two males were deceased at the scene. A further male, believed to be the offender, was also deceased at the scene. All are believed to have died from gunshot wounds.
‘Another female treated at the scene for gunshot wounds, died a short time later in hospital.
‘All of the next of kin of the deceased have been located and informed by Devon & Cornwall Police officers.
‘Devon & Cornwall Police would stress this is not a terrorism related incident.
‘The area has been cordoned off and police are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.
‘Investigations are continuing into the incident and disruption to the road network in the Keyham will remain throughout the night.
‘Police continue to ask any members of the public with mobile phone footage of the immediate aftermath of the incident not to post this on social media platforms and to respect those families who have lost loved ones this evening.’
Earlier today, a South Western Ambulance Service spokesman said: ‘We were called at 6.12pm to an ongoing incident in Plymouth.
‘We responded to the incident with a significant number of resources, including Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART), multiple ambulances, air ambulances, multiple doctors and senior paramedics. We will provide an update here in due course.’
A nearby school sports centre has been closed down and people are being told to stay indoors by police.
Cordons have also been put in place around a block of flats to prevent pedestrians accessing the area.
And Drake Circus Shopping Centre in Plymouth has also been evacuated as a precaution.
The last active shooter incident was the Cumbria shootings on June 2, 2010, when taxi driver Derrick Bird went on the rampage in Whitehaven and the surrounding countryside, killing 12 people and injuring 11.
Other mass killings in the UK since then have involved explosives or knife attacks.
Emergency crews were called to the area just after 6pm following reports of a ‘serious and tragic’ incident
A nearby school sports centre has been closed down and people are being told to stay indoors by polic
A cordon remains in place on the road as officer and ambulance crew members remain at the scene