Jo Cox: Labour MP killed in shooting and stabbing
WITNESSES have described the moment Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed outside a library in the town of Birstall, West Yorkshire.
Ms Cox, 41, was holding an advice surgery for her constituents at Birstall Library when a man approached and attacked her in a vacant parking space on the road outside the library.
Hichem Ben Abdallah, who works at the Azzurro Cafe adjacent to the library, told The Independent: "I saw a river of people running downhill down the street, screaming. It wasn't a normal scream that you hear, it was a scream like they'd seen something shocking.
"The customers and I went outside and I saw a guy with a baseball cap, of medium height, roughing up someone, moving and kicking his legs."
Mr Ben Abdallah said he knew Ms Cox personally after working with her on the recent Labour campaign for the local council elections.
Outside the library, he saw a bystander who he believed to be the owner of a nearby dry cleaners stepping in to help Ms Cox.
However, the dry cleaner owner in question has told The Indpendent it was not he who intervened, as has been believed in the community, but another bearded man of south Asian descent.
The attacker then pulled out a gun, said Mr Ben Abdallah, who retreated into his cafe with his customers.
"It looked like a makeshift gun. It was chunky, like a cucumber. It wasn't like a normal gun you see, but like an old-style hand gun," he said.
"He fired the first shot, then the second shot. There was probably three or four seconds between them."
He waited in the cafe for about 30 seconds, then re-emerged into the street.
"There was a lady [in the recovery position]. Her head was tilted back and her hair was roughed up, and her face was bleeding. Her leg was bleeding. But I could see she was alive because she was leaning on her hand," he said.
A seperate eyewitness, Clarke Rothwell, said Ms Cox was shot three times with what looked like "an old gun [...] like a musket", once in the face.
Mr Rothwell, a 42-year-old gas engineer, told the Huddersfield Examiner: "I was outside the sandwich shop close to the Library when I heard a popping sound.
"I looked round and there was a guy standing over a woman on the floor. "He seemed to have what looked like an old gun, like a musket, in his hand and he shot her again in the middle. He then seemed to shoot a third time, towards her head or face."
According to Mr Ben Abdallah, the attacker walked away from the scene in a "very cool, cold way".
"I said, 'where is he?' and people said he walked - absolutely walked - towards Tesco.
"He left while I was in the cafe. No one chased him, but I don't know, as I haven't gone down that road."
British MP shot and stabbed in Yorkshire
A British Labour MP has been shot and stabbed whilst holding an advice surgery for her constituents.
Jo Cox, the MP for Batley and Spen, was attacked outside a library in the town of Bristall, West Yorkshire, where she was holding the event.
Eyewitnesses report that the 41-year-old mother of two was left lying bleeding on the pavement after the incident.
She was subsequently airlifted to Leeds General Infirmary. Her condition is reported to be critical and serious.
West Yorkshire Police said they were aware of an incident in relation to an assault on the MP.
The force said in a tweet: "We are aware of a serious incident ongoing in Birstall. Details will be released in the press in due course."
Witness Daniel Blyth, 38, a company director from the town, told the Yorkshire Post newspaper that the assault was "unusual".
"I saw seven police cars racing up Leeds Road towards Morley. They were unmarked BMWs," he said.
"There are two helicopters flying overhead. It all seems very dramatic. I have heard that two people have been shot but I'm not sure who or why. It's all very unusual for Birstall."
Eyewitnesses told Sky News the assailant appeared to be using an adapted replica or homemade gun.
Ms Cox chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Syria and is currently a backbencher.
She was elected in 2015 and previously served on the Communities and Local Government Select Committee.
A number of MPs have been subject to assaults while going about their work in recent years.
East Ham MP Stephen Timms was stabbed twice during a constituency surgery at a library in May 2010. The attacker, Roshonara Choudhry said she had been influenced by Al Qaeda and that her attack had been in revenge for the Iraq War.
Mr Timms suffered potentially life-threatening wounds but recovered and continued as an MP.
Un January 2000, Cheltenham MP Nigel Jones was injured in an attack at his local office by constituent Robert Ashman with a samurai sword. That MP's assistant, local councillor Andrew Pennington was killed in the attack.