British MP David Amess dies after being stabbed in a church
Flags outside of the United Kingdom Parliament have been lowered to half-mast to honor the life of a conservative British parliamentarian who died after he was stabbed at a church on Friday.
Sir David Amess, The 69-year-old MP who represented Southend West in Essex, attended a public meeting for his constituency surgery on Oct. 15 at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea when the attack occurred.
According to reports, Amess was brutally stabbed several times and later died despite paramedics attempting to save him for two hours.
Police arrested and are holding a 25-year-old man in custody. A knife was recovered from the scene.
In a statement, the Essex Police confirmed that the department was called shortly after noon Friday and found an injured man being treated by first responders. Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said the investigation is in its early stages and led by officers from the Metropolitan Police's Specialist Counter Terror Command.
"It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this may have been a terrorist incident," Harrington said. "Today is a tragic day for the family and colleagues of Sir David, the community of Southend and indeed for the whole county."
Harrington said that Amess "dedicated his life to serving the communities of Essex."
"[T]today, he was simply dispensing his duties when his life was horrifically cut short," Harrington stated. "I know the residents of Essex and Southend West will stand with me today in remembering a member of our community."
The Telegraph reported that the person of interest is of Somalian origin and a witness said the man was "calm and compliant" while being summoned by the police.
Following U.K. police protocol, the man will remain anonymous unless he is charged for the crime. At this time, the force will not continue to search for any other suspects connected to the incident, according to Essex Police.
Amess is not the first member of Parliament to be murdered while attending a constituency meeting.
Helen Joanne Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen who took office in May 2015, was murdered in June 2016 while she was present at a constituency surgery. Prosecutors deemed the slaying to be related to "political and/or ideological reasons."
In the U.K., constituency surgeries are face-to-face meetings that officeholders have with their constituents.
"In the coming days we will need to discuss and examine MPs' security and any measures to be taken," Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle reportedly said.
Some who knew Amess shared with the press that they were shocked to find out about his death. Amess was known for his socially conservative viewpoints and his pro-life stance against abortion.
Many agreed that Amess had been highly esteemed among the masses.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that Amess believed passionately in the country and its future and that the U.K. lost a "fine" public servant and a "much-loved" friend and colleague.
"One of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics," Johnson said Friday. "Our thoughts are very much today with his wife, his children and his family."
Labour leader Keir Starmer called Amess' death "Horrific and deeply shocking news."
Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said that it was a "truly terrible day for British politics," adding that "our prayers are with all the people who loved David."
"This is tragic and horrible news," he tweeted.