UPDATE 12:27 p.m. Eastern: Jo Cox, the Labor MP who was shot and stabbed multiple times right after a public meeting on Thursday, has died, reports the BBC. We’re also hearing a name associated with the attack: 52-year-old Tommy Mair. According to the Yorkshire Post, the name is being circulated “locally” as being Cox’s attacker, but police have not confirmed this. The media outlet spoke to Mair’s neighbors and reports that they describe him as a “loner.” Also police were reportedly seen searching his home.
Labor MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed multiple times as anger over the Brexit referendum appears to have boiled over. She is in critical condition after being attacked inside her constituency in West Yorkshire. The MP has recently been campaigning against Brexit.
Police descended on the scene quickly and placed a 52-year-old man under arrest, according to British media outlets.
Jo Cox in critical condition
Jo Cox is MP for Spen and Batley, and she was attacked close to a Birstall library Thursday afternoon. Police told the media outlets that the Labor Party member was in critical condition after she was transported by helicopter to the general infirmary in Leeds. Police officers carrying weapons are posted outside the hospital. She had held one of her regular public meetings just before the attack. A man who is in his late 40s or early 50s and was nearby Cox also suffered minor injuries.
A witness told the BBC that the attacker shot Jo Cox two times before falling to the floor, leaning over hear, and shooting her again in the face. A man who owns a café in the area told the media outlet that the weapon used by the attacker appeared to be “handmade” and that a man was trying to subdue the attacker when he pulled the gun out of his bag.
The café owner added that after shooting the MP, the attacker began kicking her as she lay on the ground. He also said she was stabbed multiple times. At first it was reported that Cox had intervened in the scuffle between the two men, but according to the Daily Mail, later police learned that she had been attacked. Another witness reportedly said that he believed the man who attacked Jo Cox was lying in wait for her outside the library where she held her meeting. After the attack, he reportedly walked calmly away.
Anger over Brexit?
According to The Guardian, police were speaking with a witness who heard the attacker shout “Britain First” when he attacked Cox. Graeme Howard, who lives nearby, told the media outlet that he heard the man shout that phrase just before the shooting and while police were arresting him. Two police officers pinned him down to take him into custody.
Britain First Party Deputy Leader Jayda Fransen told the media outlet that they are “looking into” the reports of the suspect shouting the name of the party right now and said that “at the moment it is hearsay.” Campaign groups for both sides of the Brexit issue, Vote Leave and Remain, have both suspended all of their campaign activities following the attack on Jo Cox. The MP’s husband Brendan was in the Remain campaign’s flotilla in London on Wednesday, reports the Daily Mail. Cox had been campaigning against Brexit in favor of Britain remaining in the European Union.
The British government has been concerned about MPs being attacked for some time, as earlier this year, they received an “enhanced” security package, the media outlet reports. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority increased security for MPs after the protests to the vote on bombing Syria.
Cox was elected MP in 2015 and is the national chair of the Labour Women’s Network. She has two young children.