A single unidentified attacker drove into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing at least two victims and injuring dozens before attacking and fatally injuring a police officer in the Old Palace Yard, the courtyard directly outside parliament.
Three police officers from Scotland Yard were among the injured, Mark Rowley, high-ranking anti-terror officer, said in a press briefing. The attacker was previously known to the police, Rawley added.
Police Constable Keith Palmer, 48, was identified as the slain officer. Palmer was stabbed to death by the assailant who was then shot dead by police.
Prime Minister Theresa May said following an emergency high security meeting (COBRA) that the attacker carried out the “sick and depraved” act and deliberately chose the parliament which stands for democracy, freedom and rule of law.
“These streets of Westminster, home to the world’s oldest parliament, are engrained with a spirit of freedom that echoes in some of the furthest corners of the globe”, May said.
“And the values our Parliament represents, democracy, freedom, human rights, the rule of law, command the admiration and respect of free people everywhere.”
She said it “was why it is a target for those who reject those values and any attempt to defeat those values through violence and terror is doomed to fail”.
Metropolitan Police said it was treating the incident as a terrorist attack and a full scale investigation was underway. They also asked the public to avoid areas of central London surrounding Parliament Square.
Parliament Square is under a complete security lockdown, with all roads into the square cordoned off by police.
St. Thomas Hospital said some victims it received were being treated for “catastrophic injuries”.
Police Commander BJ Harrington earlier appealed for public information and urged the public to stay away from the Westminster area.