Police release details on Plymouth shooting gunman

World Saturday 14/August/2021 16:51 PM
By: DW
Police release details on Plymouth shooting gunman

British police on Friday released information about the gunman behind a fatal shooting incident in the southwestern English town of Plymouth last night.

Authorities say the shooter was a 22-year-old licensed gun owner, who killed five people and then himself during a six-minute shooting spree in a residential neighborhood Thursday night before police arrived at the scene. Authorities say they have no motive yet.

A 3-year-old girl was among the victims, police later confirmed.

What did police say?

"We believe we have an incident that is domestically related that has spilled over into the streets," said Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer of the Devon and Cornwall Police. Sawyer said police were examining the man's social media activity, hard drives and home life.

Police say that, although they have ruled out terrorism, including far-right terrorism, they are nevertheless keeping an open mind.

"Let's see what's on his hard drive, let's see what's on his computer, let's see what's on social media," Sawyer said.

Sawyer confirmed that the shooter had a "familial relationship" with his first victim, who was shot in her home. He did not confirm reports that the woman was his mother.

Speaking with reporters, Sawyer said the man shot a "very young girl" and a male relative of hers when he exited the house. He then shot and killed another man and woman not much farther away.

Two more residents suffered "significant" gunshot injuries but authorities say these are not life threatening.

No known ties to terror groups

The suspect was a licensed gun owner, though police refused to say whether the firearm recovered at the crime scene was the weapon he was licensed for. They also would not confirm that the firearm in question was a pump-action shotgun as had been reported.

Police say the shooter's social media activity suggests an interest in guns, right-wing libertarian politics and so-called shoot-'em-up video games. Initial indicators paint a portrait of a loner, who police say was alienated from his family and hostile toward women.

On his Facebook page, the shooter claimed he had been born in the US and was an employee of the UK engineering company Babcock International at the port of Plymouth, western Europe's biggest naval base.

The man's YouTube content, which mainly showed him lifting weights at home, was deleted Friday morning. In one video, he went off on a misogynistic rant against women, speaking directly into the camera in a heavy west English accent.

A number of mass shootings over the past several years have been carried out in the US states of California and Florida, as well as in the Canadian city of Toronto by men with similar issues.

In his last video, uploaded on July 28, the gunman said he felt "beaten down and defeated" by life.

Police say an "independent review" will look into how the shooter obtained his license and whether he had any history of mental health issues.

Plymouth is first mass shooting in UK in over a decade

The killings shocked the UK, which has some of the world's strictest gun laws. Mass shootings are rare in the country, with the last taking place more than a decade ago when a taxi driver killed 12 people in the northwestern English city of Cumbria, in June 2010.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday tweeted: "My thoughts are with the friends and family of those who lost their lives and with all those affected by the tragic incident in Plymouth last night. I thank the emergency services for their response."

The UK largely outlawed private ownership of handguns after a 1996 school massacre in Dunblane, Scotland. still, sport rifles and shotguns may be purchased according to licensing rules, including stringent background checks.