The high-octave European Union referendum campaign in the United Kingdom forced for a halt with news of murder of the Labour Member of Parliament for Bately and Spen, Jo Cox (41), at the village of Birstall on the outskirts of Leeds in West Yorkshire on Thursday.
Cox, a first-time MP, was a vocal supporter of Britain remaining in the European Union (EU). She was reportedly shot three times and then knifed several times by a middle aged man.
The Yorkshire Police announced that the suspected killer, a 52-year old named as Tommy Mair, was arrested shortly afterwards. They recovered weapons, including a firearm. He also attacked a 77-year-old bystander who sustained non-life threatening injuries.
An eyewitness account of the attack by a nearby restaurant worker, Hichem ben Abdalla (56) said he came out of the café hearing screaming shortly after 1 pm. He said: “There was a guy who was being very brave and another guy with a white baseball cap who he was trying to control, and the man in the baseball cap suddenly pulled a gun from his bag.”
He further reported to the British Media that the killer was fighting with her and wrestling with her and then the gun went off twice and then she fell between two cars and I came and saw her bleeding on the floor.
After first shooting and then stabbing her, the murder kicked her as she was lying on the floor, the eye witness informed.
The police are investigating claims that the man shouted “Britain First” the name of a far-right political group as he attacked the MP. The organisation has since denied that they had any involvement in the murder.
A stunned country responded with an explosion of tributes for the popular MP and sadness at the senseless violence that took her life.