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Fatal stabbing of British lawmaker David Amess declared a terrorist incident by police

U.K. parliament member fatally stabbed
U.K. parliament member fatally stabbed 01:39

London's Metropolitan Police Department has declared the fatal stabbing of British lawmaker David Amess a terrorist incident. Amess died earlier Friday after he was stabbed multiple times while meeting with constituents in southern England. 

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, who is also the Senior National Coordinator for Counter Terrorism Policing, formally declared the incident as terrorism, the police department said in a statement. The department also said a preliminary investigation "has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism." 

At approximately noon local time, Essex police responded to reports that someone had been stabbed. The victim, who has been identified as Amess, died of his injuries on the scene, police said. 

A 25-year-old British man was arrested on the scene "on suspicion of murder," police said. He is currently in custody in Essex. 

Police said they believe the man acted alone and that there is no danger to the public. Authorities are currently carrying out searches at two unspecified locations in the London area. 

Amess, 69, had been a member of Parliament for decades. He belonged to the Conservative party, was married and had five children. 

Sir David Amess MP
British lawmaker David Amess in the Prime Minister's Office at the House of Commons on October 16, 2016, in London, United Kingdom. Getty Images

He is not the country's only lawmaker to be killed in recent years. Labour MP Jo Cox was fatally shot in her district in 2016. 

British lawmakers mourned Amess' death on social media. Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote that "David was a man who believed in this country and its future. We have lost a fine public servant." The leader of the opposition Labour party, Keir Starmer, condemned the "horrific and deeply shocking news."

Conservative MP Tracey Crouch tweeted that she was "heartbroken." 

"I could write reams on how Sir David was one of the kindest, most compassionate, well liked colleagues in Parliament. But I can't. I feel sick. I am lost," she wrote. "Rest in Peace. A little light went out in Parliament today. We will miss you."  

The investigation into Amess' death is being led by the Metropolitan Police Department's Counter Terrorism Command. 

Haley Ott contributed reporting. 

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