Irish backstop –
The police officer who was injured in a knife attack at a Glasgow hotel on Friday is now in a stable condition.
Constable David Whyte, 42, was one of six people injured during the incident at the Park Inn Hotel in West George Street on Friday, in which a male suspect was shot and killed by police.
Three of the other people who were injured were asylum seekers, Police Scotland said, while two were members of staff. All remain in hospital, one in a critical but stable condition, the others in a stable condition. Mr Whyte’s condition was initially described as critical but stable.
On Saturday, Police Scotland, which has said the attack is not being treated as terrorism, launched an appeal for any witnesses to come forward.
Officers were called to the hotel at 12.50pm and the incident was “quickly contained”, the force said. The suspect was shot by an armed unit and died at the scene.
Following an update from Police Scotland on Saturday, Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland tweeted: “My thoughts today remain with Constable Whyte — whose bravery we are all deeply grateful for — and the other people who sustained injuries in yesterday’s terrible incident. I wish them all a full and speedy recovery.”
The Park Inn hotel was being used to house asylum seekers. The six injured men are aged between 17 and 53. Three of the injured people are being treated at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, and another three are being treated at the queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
Armed officers arrived at the scene and shot the male suspect dead. The incident is thought to have taken place in the hotel’s reception area, with a receptionist thought to be among the victims, and in a stairwell. The hotel had been housing around 80 asylum seekers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Surrounding streets were sealed off as ambulances and police vehicles converged on the building at around 12.50pm. Witness footage on social media showed armed officers entering a property next to the hotel as members of the public exited with their arms raised. The alleged assailant is believed to have been an asylum seeker, according to Whitehall and police sources.
Counter-terrorism police in London were understood to have been alerted, and monitored the situation, but in a statement Police Scotland said: “The incident in West George Street, Glasgow is not being treated as terrorism. The investigation is continuing.”
Calls for help
Witnesses described harrowing scenes in the hotel. One man who saw the aftermath of the attack, but asked not to be named, described seeing two people lying in the reception area of the hotel suffering from stab wounds in the abdominal area. “One of them was fighting for his life, gasping for breath,” he said.
He described being alerted to the incident when he heard calls for help from the ground floor. He said that one of those injured was a Scottish man in his 30s who was working at the reception.
Craig Milroy, who saw the aftermath from an office building nearby, said he had seen four people taken away in ambulances. He told the PA Media news agency: “I saw a man lying on the ground, of African descent, with no shoes on. He was on the ground with someone holding his side – I don’t know if it was a bullet wound, a stab wound, or what it was.”
Mr Milroy said the man was one of the four taken away by medics and believed him to be a victim of an attack. He added: “After that we saw commotion, ambulances further up and we saw armed police all running into the hotel next to the Society Room.”
Another witness told LBC radio that he saw a man enter the reception area and stab two people. “I was a resident on the third floor in Park Inn,” the witness said. “I’m staying with my mum there. I heard noises, loud noises; woman screaming and man screaming for help, but I couldn’t see from my window what’s going on. But I could see people standing there and looking towards the hotel,” he said.
As the incident unfolded, senior police sources said that three people had been fatally stabbed, citing information from the ambulance service and circulating within police channels.
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At 3.25pm, Steve Johnson, an assistant chief constable with Police Scotland, said there was one death, that of the alleged assailant, and confirmed police were not looking for any other suspects.
“The individual who was shot by armed police has died,” he said. “Six other people are in hospital for treatment to their injuries including a police officer, who is in a critical but stable condition.”
Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, joined other political leaders including the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in saying their thoughts were with the victims and their families.
First minister of Scotland, Ms Sturgeon said on Friday: “First and foremost my thoughts are with all those people who have been caught up in this terrible incident, particularly the six injured people taken to hospital for treatment, as well as residents and staff at the hotel.
“I also want to thank all of those police officers whose quick and decisive actions contained the incident – one of whom was among those taken to hospital – as well as the work of the other emergency services. The justice secretary and I have been kept informed through the afternoon and briefed by the chief constable.
“While such a serious incident is rare in Scotland, it is another reminder of the courage and professionalism of our police officers who are willing to run towards danger in order to protect the lives of others.”
Humza Yousaf, the Scottish justice secretary, tweeted: “Hoping and praying that they all recover. Thoughts continue to be with all those affected.”
Johnson said he was “deeply saddened by the terrible incident in Glasgow, my thoughts are with all the victims and their families. Thank you to our brave emergency services who are responding.” Khan, whose city has seen a series of fatal knife attacks recently, said: “Reports from today’s incident in Glasgow are truly awful. My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones at this difficult time.”
As news of the incident broke shortly before 2pm, Police Scotland was quick to reassure people the incident had been contained and there was no wider risk to public safety.
In an alert on Twitter at 1.51pm, Greater Glasgow police said: “Emergency services are currently dealing with an incident on West George Street in Glasgow. The street is currently closed off and the public are asked to avoid the area at present. The situation is contained at this time and there is no danger to the general public.”
Several minutes later, the Scottish Police Federation, which represents the injured officer, confirmed on Twitter he had been stabbed and said the attack had caused a great deal of anxiety among other officers and for the officer’s family.
A statement from David Hamilton, chair of the Scottish Police Federation, said: “Whilst there is considerable public interest in the major incident in Glasgow earlier today, our focus at this time is in assisting the family of our colleague who has been seriously injured. This is obviously an anxious time for them and we ask that they be left alone as their attentions are very obviously directed towards the care of their loved one.
“Our thoughts, prayers and best wishes are with our colleague, his family and friends, and all colleagues affected by this incident at this time.”
– Guardian and PA
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