A gunman shot and critically injured a member of British Parliament in her constituency, according to local media and police. This is despite guns being effectively banned in the UK since 1996 and police officers are virtually unarmed.
Witnesses said the gunman shouted “Britain First” during his attack on Jo Cox, a 41 year-old member of the opposition Labour Party. The lawmaker had just written an editorial opposing Britain leaving the EU with a crucial “Brexit” vote coming up later this month.
Cox was preparing to hold an advice surgery for constituents at the Birstall Library near Leeds when she was attacked.
West Yorkshire police said officers were called to the scene before 1 p.m. local time and said she “had suffered serious injuries.”
Officers arrested a 52 year-old man who is believed to be the gunman. The slogan “Britain First” is used by British activists who support Britain leaving the European Union.
“The gun went off twice and then she fell between two cars and I came and saw her bleeding on the floor,” nearby shop owner, Hichem Ben Abdallah told ITV News.
“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 said. Jo Cox then got involved in the scuffle after one of the men stepped back.
“He 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,” he said. “He was kicking her and he was pulling her by her hair. A very courageous man from the dry cleaners tried to restrain him and he couldn’t stop him because all of a sudden he pulled a gun.”
Cox was airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary where she is in critical condition.
Cox, a mother of two, has been a member of Parliament since 2015 and has campaigned to get Britain to become more militarily involved against ISIS.
Jo Cox, Labour MP for Batley and Spen, injured & taken by air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary pic.twitter.com/8ZrcGnohyu
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) June 16, 2016