LONDON (AP) — A man was arrested on suspicion of murder in the English city of Nottingham on Tuesday after three people were found dead in the street and three others were hit and injured by a van in related early-morning incidents, police said.
“This is an horrific and tragic incident which has claimed the lives of three people,” said Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Kate Meynell.
Two people were found dead in one street just after 4 a.m. and a third on a different street. The three wounded by the van were at a different location and were being treated in a hospital. There was no immediate word on their conditions.
Witness Lynn Haggitt was on her way to work when a white van pulled up beside her at 5:30 a.m. She saw the driver look in his mirror and spot a police car approaching slowly from behind without its lights on. The driver then accelerated and struck a man and woman at a street corner.
“He went straight into them, he didn’t even bother to turn,” Haggitt told reporters. “The woman went on the curb, the man went up in the air, there was such a bang, I wish I never saw it, it’s really shaken me up.”
The driver then sped through the city center, with police on his tail, she added.
She said the wounded man appeared to have a head injury but was helped to his feet. The woman was sitting on the curb and appeared to be OK.
Police gave no immediate indication of a possible motive. The investigation was being led by local police, not counterterrorism officers.
“We believe these three incidents are all linked and we have a man in custody,” Meynell said. “This investigation is at its early stages and a team of detectives is working to establish exactly what has happened.”
Kane Brady, a student at the University of Nottingham, said he awoke to shouts of “armed police” and noises as loud as gunshots outside.
He said he saw officers holding stun guns and a man being dragged out of the van and pinned on the ground.
“I saw him getting arrested, him trying to resist,” he told GB News. “When they opened the van, I saw a large knife being pulled out and then straight away that’s when police closed off both roads.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called it a shocking incident and asked that police be given time to investigate the crime.
“My thoughts are with those injured, and the family and loved ones of those who have lost their lives,” Sunak said.
Images on social media showed police, some with rifles, standing near cordons at several locations in the city center.
The city’s tram network said it had suspended all services.
Nottingham is a city of about 350,000 some 110 miles (175 kilometers) north of London.