LONDON (CBSNewYork/CBS News/AP) — London police say nine people were killed in what they are calling “terror incidents” Saturday on the London Bridge and nearby Borough Market.
Police said early Sunday morning six victims were killed in the incidents, as well as three attackers, who were shot and killed by authorities.
The Metropolitan Police said they responded to reports of a collision on the bridge shortly after 10 p.m. local time, followed by reports of a stabbing at Borough Market. Armed police responded and shots were fired, police said.
Acting Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said three suspects got out of the van and stabbed patrons inside the market. They were wearing what appeared to be suicide vests, but Rowley said the vests turned out to be fake.
London Ambulance transported at least 20 people from the bridge to six local hospitals and treated a number of others on the scene.
The Metropolitan Police said armed officers responded to a third incident in the Vauxhall area in South London, which police later said was not connected to the other two.
Metropolitan Police indicated that the incident was ongoing and urged people to take shelter if necessary.
Witnesses said a white van was swerving and speeding across the British landmark, then jumped the curb and plowed into pedestrians, CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported.
BBC reporter Holly Jones, who was on the bridge, said she saw the van strike as many as six people.
“We just heard gunshots, a lot of crashes. So as we looked outside, we saw a lot of fear and confusion with everyone in the streets,” one witness said.
People rushed to help the victims. Bicycles, shoes and belongings were scattered across the street.
“There were people lying on the ground, and there was a taxi driver who rolled his window down and was shouting at people to run,” another witness, Simon Thompson, added.
Then, witnesses said, two people were stabbed inside a tapas restaurant, called Brindisa, at the popular Borough Market near the south side of the bridge, Conybeare reported.
“There’s a crushed van outside Brindisa, so it looks like that’s obviously where the van hit something,” one man said.
He said he was stunned to see heavily armed police open fire on the restaurant. At least one suspect was said to be carrying a large knife.
“Two armed, marked police behind an X5 shouting, ‘Get back.’ Bang, bang, bang, three shots,” the man added.
The Metropolitan Police Department confirmed their officers did open fire, Conybeare reported. Terrified families, some with children, were seen seeking safety.
Witnesses described the horrific scenes.
“I was walking out of the London Bridge station, and there were police,” witness Caroline Breniere told Sky News. “Some of them were coming by car, some of them were running. The traffic was stopped.”
“We finished drinking at a bar and we came out onto the road, and I looked to my left and there was a guy — we thought he was just drunk, he was lying on the floor,” another man told Sky. “A couple seconds later, about three police vans flew past. The guys who were with the guy that was on the floor managed to flag one of the police vans down. One of the officers jumped out and started attending to the guy on the floor.”
The city transit authority, Transport for London, closed the bridge and ordered the London Bridge station evacuated.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said the incidents are being treated as terrorism. May will chair a meeting of the government’s emergency response committee on Sunday.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the incidents “a deliberate and cowardly attack.”
“We don’t yet know the full details, but this was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night,” he said in a statement. “I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts.”
President Donald Trump responded on Twitter.
Minutes earlier, he posted a tweet touting his immigration ban, although he did not specifically mention the London incidents.
The NYPD said it was closely monitoring the situation in London, but added that “there are no specific, credible threats to NYC.”
“We are monitoring the events in London and have been in touch with the British authorities. We will make adjustments to our deployments in New York City, as needed. As always, we ask any member of the public who observes suspicious behavior to contact the police immediately,” the NYPD said in a statement.
The incidents come just over a week after a terror bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. It’s also two months after another terrorist slammed a vehicle into a crowd of people on the Westminster Bridge in London, then got out and stabbed a police officer.