Witnesses Describe Latest Attack In London On Pedestrians

Jun 19, 2017
Originally published on June 19, 2017 8:01 am
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREEENE, HOST:

And we are closely following developments out of London. That is where early in the hours of this morning, a driver drove a van into worshippers who were leaving a mosque after Ramadan services had ended.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Prime Minister Theresa May is describing this as a terrorist incident. London Mayor Sadiq Khan described this latest attack in the U.K. as, quote, "an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom and respect."

GREENE: We should say there were many casualties on the scene in the multicultural Finsbury Park neighborhood of north London. Eyewitnesses described what happened.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ABDIQADIR WARRA: He turned left into the alleyway. And he just drove at people. Some of them he took a few meters.

MARTIN: That's Abdiqadir Warra speaking to the British Press Association. The driver rammed a group of people helping an old man who had collapsed on the sidewalk of an apparent heart attack. That man later died.

GREENE: Eyewitness Abdulrahman Saleh Alamoudi spoke to BuzzFeed News.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ABDULRAHMAN SALEH ALAMOUDI: We saw this guy who was on the floor. So we were trying to hold him. We asked him, you know, are you OK? Can you breathe? So he couldn't breathe. So one of the people - they were trying to give him...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: CPR.

ALAMOUDI: ...CPR. And then literally, within a minute or so, we just hear this van.

MARTIN: Alamoudi dodged the van and says he was among the people who grabbed the driver.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALAMOUDI: He was screaming. He was saying, I'm going to kill all Muslims. I'm going to kill all Muslims. So he was throwing punches and all over. Then we managed to get him on the floor. And then he was saying, oh, kill me. Kill me. I said, we're not going to kill you. Why did you do that? Why did you do that? He wouldn't say anything.

GREENE: Alamoudi and others held the driver until the police got there.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ALAMOUDI: I had to keep him at least half an hour. He was a strong guy. He had a - he was a big man. Luckily, me and my friend - we managed to get him on the floor.

MARTIN: The driver's described as a 48-year-old white man. He is now in custody. Police have increased the numbers of officers patrolling the area. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.