Two college students and a middle-aged man were stabbed to death on the streets of Nottingham, England, early Tuesday morning by a man who then stole a van from one of his victims and plowed into three other people, police said.
The attacker killed two 19-year-old students near the dorms of the University of Nottingham, around 130 miles north of London. A third person, a man in his 50s, was found dead on a different street, and police said the suspect stole the third victim’s van and ran into three others. Authorities arrested a 31-year-old man on suspicion of murder. GB News reported the suspect is a West African migrant with a history of violence.
“This is a horrific and tragic incident which has claimed the lives of three people,” Chief Constable Kate Meynell said, according to the Associated Press.
Police believe the suspect acted alone and said they are keeping an “open mind” while investigating the suspect’s motives, but they have not yet revealed the suspect’s identity any further than revealing his age and sex. A witness told the BBC that he saw a man dressed in black with a hood attack the two college students, a male and a female.
“She was screaming ‘help!’ I just wish I’d shouted something out of the window to unnerve the assailant,” said the witness, who remained anonymous. “I saw him stab the lad first and then the woman. It was repeated stabbing – four or five times. The lad collapsed in the middle of the road.”
“The girl stumbled towards a house and didn’t move,” the witness added. “The next minute she had disappeared down the side of a house, and that’s where they found her.”
Around an hour and a half after the stabbing rampage, the suspect drove a white van into a group of people waiting at a bus stop. A man who was among the three hit by the suspect is in critical condition, and the other two hit-and-run victims had minor injuries. Lynn Haggitt told the Associated Press that she was on her way to work when she witnessed the attack and said the suspect accelerated into the pedestrians after seeing a police car approach him from behind.
“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 University of Nottingham released a statement confirming the deaths of two of its students.
“It is with great sadness that we confirm the sudden and unexpected death of two of our students following a major incident in #Nottingham city centre overnight,” the university said. “We are shocked and devastated by the news and our thoughts are with those affected, their families and friends.”