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Media captionArmed police went to a block of flats in Reading following the stabbings in Forbury GardensThree people are dead and at least three others have been injured after stabbings in a park in Reading.Police have said they are treating the attack as a “terrorist incident”.What happened?Police were called to Forbury Gardens at about 19:00 BST following reports that a number of people had been stabbed.Thames Valley Police said a 25-year-old man from Reading was arrested at the scene and is now in custody on suspicion of murder.There are reports that a police officer “rugby tackled” the suspect to the ground, according to the Sunday Mirror.The head of counter terrorism policing, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, thanked “unarmed and incredibly brave” officers for detaining the suspect.He added that members of the public provided emergency first aid in the immediate aftermath of the attack.Police said the incident was unrelated to a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest held hours earlier in the park.
South Central Ambulance Service said “multiple ambulance resources” were sent to the scene, including five ambulance crews and a helicopter.Early reports suggested that three people had suffered serious injuries.However, it was later confirmed that two people had been taken to Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.One person remains under observation with non life-threatening injuries, and a second person has been discharged, the hospital said.About a dozen armed police officers with shields were later seen entering a block of flats in Basingstoke Road in Reading at about 23:00 BST, and families living in the building were moved out.A loud bang was heard from the flats later at about 12:30, and the armed officers have now left the scene.
Police have urged people to stay away from the scene
What do we know about the suspect?Police were initially treating the attack as a murder investigation, not a terrorism incident.However, officers confirmed shortly before 11:30 BST on Sunday that it was being treated as a “terrorist incident”.In a statement, Thames Valley Police said that counter terrorism officers would be taking over the investigation.Officers are not looking for any other people in connection with this incident and say there is no intelligence to suggest that there is any further danger to the public.Earlier security sources told the BBC the 25-year-old man arrested at the scene is thought to be Libyan.Home Affairs correspondent Daniel Sandford said he had been told the suspect had previously been in prison in the UK but for a relatively minor offence, not a terrorism offence.Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said that the “motivation for this horrific act is far from certain”.
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Media captionNeil Basu: “Officers have found nothing to suggest anyone else was involved in this attack”What did witnesses see?Eyewitness Laurence Wort, 20, told the BBC that he was visiting Reading for the day and was about 10m from the attack.”The park was pretty full, a lot of people sat around drinking with friends when one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went round a large group trying to stab them.”He stabbed three of them and then turned and started running towards me, when we turned and started running.”When he realised that he couldn’t catch us he tried to stab another group sat down.”He got one in the back of the neck and then when he realised everyone was starting to run, he ran out the park.”
A large cordon remains in place following the incident
Claire Gould, a freelance journalist who lives in Reading, said she walked past Forbury Gardens at around 18:40 BST “and everything seemed calm”. She then saw an air ambulance land in King’s Meadow – another park close to the scene – at around 19:00 BST, followed by a second around 10 minutes later.”There were multiple sirens from 19:00 going on for the next couple of hours and police helicopters [were] circling,” she added.What has the reaction been? Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his “thoughts are with all of those affected by the appalling incident in Reading”.”My thanks to the emergency services on the scene,” he added.Home Secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “This evening we saw a senseless attack on people simply enjoying a Saturday with family and friends.”My heart, prayers and thoughts are with all those affected.”Policing minister Kit Malthouse has described the incident as “horrific” and “dreadful”.Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said the stabbing was “very concerning”.Reading Borough Council leader Jason Brock said the town was “an incredibly strong community” where “people will come together and they won’t allow themselves to be divided”.Reading East MP Matt Rodda called it the “most dreadful incident”. He added: “This will come as a real shock to our community and I think what’s happening now is people are pulling together and trying to support one another at this dreadful time.”