LONDON, United Kingdom, Jun 17 – A pro-EU British lawmaker was killed in a shock daylight street attack on Thursday, halting campaigning for the referendum on Britain’s membership in the bloc just a week before the crucial vote.
Jo Cox, a 41-year-old mother-of-two from the opposition Labour Party, was shot in the face while laying on the ground by a lone attacker in the village of Birstall in northern England, according to witnesses quoted by local media.
Cafe owner Clarke Rothwell told the Press Association the gunman was shouting “put Britain first”.
“He shouted it about two or three times. He said it before he shot her and after he shot her,” he said.
Cox, who was also reportedly stabbed, is the first British MP to be killed in office since Ian Gow was killed by a car bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army in 1990.
“He shot this lady once and then he shot her again… leant over shot her once more in the face area,” Rothwell told the BBC.
Police said a 52-year-old man had been arrested and a firearm had been recovered from the scene.
“This was a localised incident, albeit one which has a wider impact,” West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson told reporters.
Cox, a former aid worker, was only elected to parliament last year but had already made her name campaigning for the government to do more to aid Syrian refugees and for Britain to stay in the EU.