British police declared on Sunday that a stabbing spree which occurred in Reading the previous night was a “terrorist incident”.
A 25-year-old man has been arrested after three people died and another three sustained serious injuries.
Counter-Terrorism officers are now taking over the investigation, Thames Valley Police said in a statement.
Chief Constable John Campbell described the incident as “truly tragic”.
“Incidents of this nature are very rare, though I know that will be of little comfort to those involved and understand the concern that this incident will have caused amongst our local community,
“I would also ask that the public avoid speculation,” he added.
Police and other emergency services attended the scene in Forbury Gardens at around 19:00 BST on Saturday evening and quickly apprehended the suspect.
Local media are reporting the suspect is a Libyan asylum-seeker.
Detective Chief Superintendent Ian Hunter, Head of Crime, said police were not “looking for any other people in connection” with the incident, adding there was no further danger to the public.
Authorities added that video footage of the incident had been captured on mobile phones, urging people not to circulate it on social media and to use it to help the police instead.
Thames Police initially ruled out the stabbing was terror-related, or that it was linked to a Black Lives Matter rally held in the park a few hours earlier.
‘The best son’
One of the victims has been named as James Furlong, a teacher at the Holt School in Wokingham, about 11 kilometres southeast of Reading.
“James was a wonderful man. He was beautiful, intelligent, honest and fun,” his parents, Gary and Janet, said in a statement released by Thames Valley Police.
“He was the best son, brother, uncle and partner you could wish for. We are thankful for the memories he gave us all,” they added.
‘Appalled and sickened’
Prime minister Boris Johnson said that he was “appalled and sickened” by the attack and sent his condolences to the families and friends of the victims. He also thanked police officers “for their bravery in tackling the suspect”.
“If there are lessons that we need to learn about how we handle such cases, how we handle the events leading up to such cases, then we will learn those lessons and we will not hesitate to take action where necessary,” he added.
Home Secretary Priti Patel described the incident as “a senseless attack”, adding: “My heart, prayers and thoughts are with all of those affected and to the people of Reading who will be deeply shocked and concerned by this terrible incident.”
“I am in contact with police and will ensure they have all the support they need,” she continued.