On Wednesday afternoon, Khalid Masood, a 52-year-old British citizen, killed at least five people and injured 40 others as he sought to wreak havoc in the heart of London. Using a rental vehicle, he sped across Westminster Bridge, intentionally plowing down pedestrians.
Among them was a woman who fell into the Thames river. She was pulled out alive, but with serious injuries. Masood was headed for the Parliament, however, he was fatally shot after attacking and killing a police officer with a knife.
Although no links were found between Massood and the Islamic State, the terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement where they called the assailant a soldier.
Due to the central location of the attack, the casualties included people from all over the world: 12 Britons, at least four South Koreans, three French children, two Romanians, two Greeks, and citizens of several other countries lost their lives.
There was also an American victim. Kurt Cochran from Utah was in London to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary with his wife who was also injured in the attack.
The assailant was known to have had a criminal record. He had various previous convictions for assaults, possession of offensive weapons, and public order offenses. Despite his history, he was not suspected of planning out a terrorist attack.
According to the police, eight people were arrested overnight and Thursday morning in connection with the attack. They ranged in age from 21 to 58.
Police confirmed that a full counterterrorism operation is underway and that they are increasing law enforcement presence around the city.