The tragic events in West Cumbria on Wednesday, where 12 people have been killed, and at least 25 left injured, has shocked the U.K. The body of the suspected gunman, taxi driver Derrick Bird, has now been found, in what is the worst such incident since the Dunblane massacre in 1996.
The analysis of the tragic events is sure to come thick and fast but here are the brutal facts. The shooting spree started at around 10:30 a.m. (5.30 a.m. ET) in the Irish Sea port town of Whitehaven, which is in northern England in the county of Cumbria. The first fatality took place there before the gunman drove south, apparently picking off people at random.
Witnesses have said that the suspect drove through Whitehaven with a gun hanging out of his car window, before heading south through small towns such as Gosforth, Seascale and Egremont. After finishing these horrific shootings, detectives said 52-year-old Bird drove to the central Lakes, abandoned his car in the Boot area and took his own life. “I can confirm that we’ve found a body in a wooded area near Boot which we believe to be Mr. Bird, together with a firearm,” said Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde.
An understandably distressed Prime Minister David Cameron began his first ever Prime Minister’s Questions by saying, “The government will do everything it possibly can to help the local community and those affected. When lives and communities are suddenly shattered in this way, our thoughts should be with all those caught up with these tragic events.” The Queen said she was “deeply shocked” by the Cumbria shootings and shared the country’s “grief and horror.”
Bird had been a taxi driver for more than 20 years, was divorced several years ago and has two children, both boys. Peter Leder, a friend of Bird’s, told CNN that he was “an outgoing, well-known guy, who everyone liked.” Ominously, when they spoke on Tuesday night, Leder said that Bird told him, “You won’t see me again.”