Witnesses said that an elderly man had fallen ill outside the Finsbury Park mosque and that, as first aid was administered to him, a crowd gathered around. It was then that the attacker allegedly drove his vehicle into the crowd. The man receiving first aid is now reported to have died at the scene, while eight others sustained serious injuries from the van.
The perpetrator, a 45-year-old man who was detained by the public at the scene, was arrested and counter-terrorism police have launched an inquiry into the incident.
Reports of fatalities after a man knocked over many pedestrians near Finsbury Park mosque pic.twitter.com/V6JVNbBR4y— Shulem Stern (@ShulemStern) June 19, 2017
“The attack unfolded whilst a man was receiving first aid from the public at the scene, sadly, he has died. Any causative link between his death and the attack will form part of our investigation. It is too early to state if his death was as a result of the attack,” deputy assistant commissioner Neil Basu told reporters.
“No matter what the motivation proves to be, and we are keeping an open mind, this is being treated as a terrorist attack.”
The law enforcement official confirmed that all those injured were Muslim and that the attacker was in custody. It is believed that he acted alone.
Other witnesses, in circulating but unsubstantiated reports, claimed that the driver shouted, “I want to kill all Muslims” before he was tackled to the ground.
British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the incident in a statement made on Monday morning, describing it as “sickening.”
“I will chair an emergency meeting later this morning. All my thoughts are with the victims, their families and the emergency services on the scene.”
London Mayor Sadiq Kahn called for unity in the wake of the incident.
“While this appears to be an attack on a particular community, like the terrible attacks in Manchester, Westminster and London Bridge,” he said, “it is also an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom, and respect.”