British politician Jo Cox died following a street attack on Thursday, a brazen and startling assault in a country where attacks on politicians are extremely rare and the slaying of a lawmaker is without parallel in recent history.
Described as a rising star of the opposition Labour Party, the 41-year-old is the first British lawmaker to be killed in office since Conservative MP Ian Gow was assassinated by the IRA in a 1990 car bombing.
Cox was shot and stabbed in Birstall, near Leeds in northern England, the Press Association news service reported, citing eyewitnesses.
She died as a result of her injuries. She had just finished a regular public meeting with constituents and came out of the meeting on her own. British politicians at her level are rarely if ever accompanied a security detail.
Her colleagues took the news of the death hard.
Alison McGovern, a Labour Party politician, praised Cox’s influence and cited her role as a leading campaigner seeking a solution to the Syrian conflict.
“Not everyone gets to Westminster to represent their hometown and makes the impact that she has,” referring to the House of Commons.
Many constituents were dumbfounded and distraught over the death.
“Dreadful, dreadful. Poor girl,” one constituent said. “For the first time in many many years we actually had an MP that was interested in Birstall, and interested in us, and interested in the people and the businesses here.”
After the assault, a man was detained close to the scene of the attack, said Dee Collins, Temporary Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police. Weapons, including a firearm, were recovered, she said.
The Press Association said West Yorkshire Police have detained 52 year old Tommy Mair for questioning in connection to the shooting.