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Killing of British Member of Parliament Jo Cox; Prime Minister David Cameron Leads Tributes. Aired 3-4p ET.

Aired June 16, 2016 - 15:00:00   ET


[15:00:00] HALA GORANI, HOST: Hello, everyone. I'm Hala Gorani live from CNN London. Welcome to our continuing breaking news coverage on the

killing of British Member of Parliament Jo Cox. Shock for the entire country it has to be said. She was 41 years old only and a mother of two.

She was shot and stabbed in broad daylight following a meeting in her local constituency in West Yorkshire. The Prime Minister of this country, David

Cameron led the tributes to the 41-year-old describing her as a great star.


GORANI: Member of Parliament Jo Cox was attacked in her constituency in northern England shortly after noon on Thursday. Local media say a man

shot and stabbed her outside a library in Birstall near Leeds where she was meeting local people.

Eyewitnesses described hearing screams.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't the one normal screams that the rat panicking and then we go down the road the wounded woman laid on the floor.

GORANI: A man in his 50s was arrested at the scene, and a number of weapons recovered by police. Cox was taken to a nearby hospital, but

doctors couldn't save here.

DEE COLLINS, TEMPORARY CHIEF CONSTABLE, WEST YORKSHIRE POLICE: I'm now very sad to have to report that she has died as a result of her injuries.

Before going into further detail, I would like to express our deepest sympathies to her family and friends at this tragic time.

GORANI: Police say another man at the scene was lightly wounded.

JO COX, MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT: And as we our celebrate diversity .

GORANI: Cox has been an MP since last May, a member of the opposition Labour Party.

JEREMY CORBYN, LABOUR LEADER PARTY: We've lost a wonderful woman. We've lost a wonderful member or parliament that our democracy will go on. Her

work will go on.

GORANI: Cox, like most in her party supported Britain staying in the European Union. She has been vocal on the issue ahead of a referendum on

it next week.

Cox's family were out campaigning on a flotilla on the River Thames yesterday since the news of the shooting both to leave and remain camps

announced that they would suspend their campaigns.

Prime Minister David Cameron canceled his planned rally in Gibraltar, Thursday night saying, "Its right that all campaigning has been stopped

after the terrible attack on Jo Cox." A local councilor who new Cox spoke to CNN shortly after the attack.

LISA HOLMES, CONSERVATIVE COUNCILLOR BIRKENSHAW, ENGLAND: I do know Jo Cox and I'm absolutely stunned. And as you probably would realize I'm

incredibly upset as well, you know, a young woman being attacked in this way and she also have -- a husband, young children and family. It's heart


GORANI: Just hours later Cox's husband tweeted this picture of her along the River Thames. The motive of her attacker is not yet clear.


GORANI: Well, I want to take a closer look now at that video that you signed the peace. It's the moment, the very moment police made the arrest.

They say it's connected to the brutal and deadly attack on Jo Cox.

You can see an essentially calm scene two police officers and you'll see that they're apparently have the situation under control. That's when more

police vehicles are soon arrived.

The street becomes more crowded with law enforcement vehicles. The suspect at some point is lying on the ground. He's behind that police officer.

They are pinning him to the ground. At one point he sits back up there, you have it. Eventually two of the many officers on the scene dragged him

to the sidewalk.

Well, I went to read to you in full what Jo Cox's husband Brandon Cox have to say about the killing of his wife. "Today, he writes, is the beginning

of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful and less full of love. I and Jo's friends and family are going to work

every moment of our lives, to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo. Jo believed in a better world and she

fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people. She would have wanted two things above all

else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Faith

does not have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous. Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full." Statement

by the now widow of Jo Cox MP who was killed today in broad daylight, just a few miles away from the British City of Leeds.

British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed sorrow and frustration. A short time ago he praised Jo Cox's passion, her compassion, and her

commitment to parliament and her constituents.


[15:05:04] DAVID CAMERON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: This is absolutely tragic and dreadful news and my thoughts always Jo's husband Brandon and

the two children in the wider family. We have lost the great star. She was a MP great campaign EMP with huge compassion with a big heart and

people are going to be very, very sad what is happened dreadful, dreadful news. It's right that we have suspending campaigning activity in this

referendum and everyone shall be with Jo's family with our constituents of this terrible time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It seems to have been already an outpouring of grief and tributes to the kind of person she was. What did you of Jo Cox.

CAMERON: I know she was a very strong campaigning MP. She had a great track record of caring about refugees and should take in a very big

interest in how we could look off the Syrian refugees and the right thing to do it all well.

She had a huge heart. She was very compassionate campaigning MP. She was bright star, no doubt about it. She's a star for her constituents starring

Parliament and a star right across the House and we've lost the star.

But above all, I'm thinking of her husband Brandon, the children, the family and our constituents who'll be feeling this huge sense of loss

tonight and I think it is right that we stop the campaigning activity. We think of them and think of what they have lost.


GORANI: So as you heard there, David Cameron say campaigning suspended the lead and the remain camps have both said they will suspend campaigning

presumably out of respect. This day a day of shocked across the country.

Let's go right to the community, the heart of the community where this happened. Our Nic Robertson is live in Birstall near Leeds where this all

took place.

What more do we know about this killing and about the suspect, Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: The police are saying very little about the suspect. Other than that, they believe that he is

the -- he is the man responsible. They say that they are not looking for anyone else that they say they have a large number of witnesses that they

want to interview. This, of course, was the day of the week. One day of the week, Thursday where Birstall has its market. The town was

particularly busy at the time.

The police investigation is an -- operation is still going on here. Forensic team was still involved. Search teams are still involved. The

police say that they will have an additional presence in this town overnight so we are sure people will certainly seen a lot of that.

But what we are hearing here of many things from many different people passing us on oppositional mistreats here. They are saying that they are

angry. They are frustrated. This disbelief that shock, but there is a real sense of how could this happen here.

Just across the market square from where I'm standing floral tributes are being laid, mostly through young couple who are laying flowers that they

just come from the nearby village. They didn't know Jo Cox. They told me that they felt that this was the right thing to do to come and pay tributes

that they knew that she was well respected and well liked in this community, that they know that she was going to be miss and they -- because

they live around here and there from here they feel this deep sense of loss. They're in shock, too.

The statute is becoming a focal point for the grief and for the tributes that have being pay those -- their floral tributes that the statute to a

famous alumni of this town. The man who discovered oxygen is who that statute it is off Joseph Priestley and that's where all the tributes are

being laid right now.

GORANI: And, Nic, of course, we don't know the motive of the killer in this case. The police have not said this is still very much a big unknown,

but there has to be speculation right that it could in some way be connected to a very passionate debate right now, a week away from our

referendum on E.U. membership that the MP. Joe Cox was very much in favor of remain. Are there questions now being asked as to whether or not it's

possibly connected to that?

ROBERTSON: I'm -- certainly the police have indicated that although that this is a local investigation it has national dimension to it as well, so

it appears potentially they are alluding to that.

But what we know right now, this debate over the referendum has become incredibly toxic and MPs have been in the line of fire from each other from

members of the public MPs have been criticized on both sides that remain and leave campaign vilified from lying, for disinformation, for falsifying

the things that they're saying to try to sway voters one way or another. If people know that this is a vote of a generation.

[15:10:01] There's a huge weight on people's shoulders in this country and a lot of the anger and frustration over what to believe and which way the

vote has been focused on MPs, on politicians and Jo Cox was obviously one of those, whether or not somehow the issue of the referendum is involved in

her killing. We just don't know at the moment, but it does appear that certainly would seem to be an avenue that the police would not be rolling

out, Hala.

GORANI: And explained to our viewers -- I mean, in the U.K. it's called this a surgery, I believe, which may confuse some people. This is

basically a local meet and greet with constituents, right? That's the event that she was leaving when this attack took place.

Also, do MPs have security in the U.K. or not? How does -- how did those types of events operate?

ROBERTSON: You know, security for them pay in the local community would be anathema for so many people here. Perhaps, you know, we use the same high

security around the Houses of Parliament and that's because it's become -- been a target of terrorists in the past.

The IRA, of course, back in that day blowing up parliamentarians every need springs to mind as well as bombing the conservative cabinet, another

members of the conservative party in Brighton in 1986. But generally speaking, for a politician like Jo Cox, security is not something that they

would have.

In the constituency there was an MP here a short while ago from the neighboring constituency here. She didn't have any security with her. She

just had a personal assistant and that's the way politicians do business here.

The surgery as this called, there's no medical surgery and services there. Of course, it was being held in a library. The surgery is where people in

this community here would go to their MP, go to Jo Cox and raise concerns, perhaps weather it was on the refuse collection, perhaps if it was on rents

or rates in the neighborhood.

Perhaps, if it was on water supplies, concerns with schools, all things that MPs try to take care of a look off in that community and look out for

the interest of the of the constituents and all those vote for them and those that don't vote for them as well. They're MPs for the whole



ROBERTSON: That's what the surgery was for. That's what she was doing today helping her community.

GORANI: Right, and so many people have come out and said, "Pay tribute to Jo Cox," have said how approachable, she had an absolutely brilliant future

ahead of her, one of the most promising politicians only 41 years old.

Thanks very much. Nic Robertson is Birstall and we'll get back to you soon, Nic so standby.

Now, both leave and remain sides in this fiery debate, this fiery campaign have suspended events following the death of Jo Cox. It's a week until

Britain goes to the polls in that referendum on its membership of the European Union.

Let's go live to Stoke-on-Trent and speak to CNNMoney's Editor-at-Large Richard Quest who was reporting the last several days on the mood in the

country. Richard, just a few days before this very important referendum and as we were discussing with Nic, this is really coming within the

context of a very toxic atmosphere in this Brexit referendum campaign.

RICHARD QUEST, CNNMONEY EDITOR-AT-LARGE: Yes and that is exactly, Hala, the way this moment of introspection, reflection that is clearly taking

place will be viewed and rally has anybody who's got the politics in this country seeing the level of vitriol, name-calling, liar, hypocrite, cheat,

dishonest, you name it. The two sides of going backwards and forwards over this.

Just look at the events yesterday. This baffled on the River Thames where you had Nigel Farage in one flotilla of boats, so Bob Geldof in another and

no one had ever seen anything quite as ugly as this before.

And then you factor in, Hala, that the seriousness of this referendum next week. It's not hyperbole to say once in a generation possibly once-in-a-

lifetime vote and then you end up with the sort of situation we have tonight. It doesn't defend in any way went to a place, but it explains to

some extent the very febrile atmosphere that is allowed this toxic environment to permeate.

GORANI: Because for people who are not following this referendum conversation, national conversation going on. I mean, there have been some

extremely controversial tactics used by both sides.

I mean, just today Nigel Farage, the leader of U.K. police firmly in favor of Brexit unveiled a new campaign poster of basically a very large crowd of

refugees lining up as those somehow they are on their way to invading Britain.

[15:15:02] I mean, you have these sorts of messages that are just out there in the atmosphere in this very controversial debate, and is this something

-- I mean, how is this affecting the national conversation?

QUEST: It's completely poisoned the well of the national conversation and it's, you know, I mean, let's go back to Jo Cox. We do not know whether

this assailant, this murderer was you doing this for political .

GORANI: I don't have that.

QUEST: . for lunatic mental health issues. We don't know that particular reason, but we can say, Hala, that the well of public life in the U.K. over

the referendum is well and truly poisoned. There is no question about it.

You've got the Prime Minister's own party out wall with itself with government ministers basically saying the Prime Minister is a liar. You've

got the opposition who are always falling apart in the same sense.

Now, Hala, again, into this you have Jo Cox who comes along. She's campaigning strongly for the right to remain in the European Union. You

have -- in places like where I am very, very aggressive leave campaigns taking place and all of this is meant to be a go to the electorate next


My own view is they will stop campaigning for the shortest possible time necessary for public decency. The stakes are so high in this referendum

that want to be out there again shortly.

GORANI: All right, Richard Quest, thanks very much Stoke-on-Trent there. Richard and I discussing essentially the atmosphere in this country just a

short week away from the important historic referendum where Britons will be asked, "Would you like to stay or do you like to leave the European


My next guest joins me live in our CNN London Studio. Robert Light is a Councillor for Birstall and Birkenshaw. He worked with Jo Cox and knew


First of all, sorry to all the members of parliament and all of those people who knew and appreciated Jo Cox. What was she like?

ROBERT LIGHT, COUNCILLOR FOR BIRSTALL AND BIRKENSHAW: She was lively. She was new and even though we were different parties you could see she was

someone who is going to make a difference to political life and she refreshing.

GORANI: How would -- how could you see she was going to make a difference?

LIGHT: Well, she was different. She was willing to work with people across party which she was consider that issues and make it an impact and I

don't think everyone welcome that.

GORANI: Approachable?

LIGHT: Yeah, she was and she was learning. Learning of the job, you know, the first years as MP. She was learning the job of engaging with the

community. She's done all sort of international things before, but this was so grassroots stuff and she was born in the area so she knew the area,

but, you know, she was .

GORANI: Were you from the same part of England?

LIGHT: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, she was born in a different part of the constituency, only a few miles from Birstall where the incident happened.

And so, you know, she knew the patch and she was good -- going to be a good local MP and she was going to be a good national MP as well.

GORANI: And this happened when she was meeting her constituent.

LIGHT: Absolutely.

GORANI: Talking about the important issues of her local community.

LIGHT: Yeah, what we do is we as councillors and MPs like Jo is to have local surgeries, which is basically where they go to a venue and they say,

"Look, will come and meet our constituency and sit down and work through in issue that constituents may have, it might be a problem." It might be just

a voice issue they want us to take upon that behalf, but we use that venue as councillors and we will probably be in there the week before and the

week after this incident.

GORANI: Are you worried about your safety now?

LIGHT: We've never thought it that way.


LIGHT: But, I think every politician will stop and think about this now.

GORANI: How was this going to change the way you work locally .

LIGHT: We don't know yet to be honest, but I think it sends -- suddenly when this happens it turns everything on his head and, you know, we

passionately believe and be accessible. I don't think it will change how I do things, but, yeah it would make you think and uncertainly for -- I think

possibly more for the freedom of Parliament and the female councillors who've they .

GORANI: Over this if there was evident the report as it was a firearm attacks it would be a problem for anybody .

LIGHT: Well, it would. I mean, I think actually you start saying, "Well, we do things on our own."


LIGHT: How do you do in pairs as we do those things on our own, but what do we -- we should do that.

GORANI: I read reports that because this referendum campaign and the national conversation has been rather sometimes tense, sometimes fiery,

sometimes toxic that some members of Parliament were concerned about their safety because they'd perceived threats or they'd received sort of hostile

communications. Is that the case? Did you here about that?

LIGHT: I think the hostility to politicians and members of Parliament is probably great than I seen it in my political lifetime, which is over 30


[15:20:00] However, let's not use that as an -- it just because we're in the middle of a strong campaign with strong opinions and perhaps too much

personality politics. Let's not use that as an excuse for what happen today in Birstall.

GORANI: Oh, no, it's an excuse, but to help understand why some MPs might feel insecure.

LIGHT: It doesn't under -- that no way does that I'm going to make a excuse for what happened today. This was a brutal act by someone who had

no justification under any circumstances to do what they did today and that must be said by everyone and I want to be very clear about that.

GORANI: What was your reaction when you heard?

LIGHT: Complete disbelief. Complete disbelief and first -- the first thing I heard was that a woman had been shot in a library in Birstall. My

first thought was, "Oh my gosh, are we doing this counsel surgery? Is my work colleague doing that surgery?" When she did not answer a phone I was

worried. I'll be honest with you. And that obviously it became clear when I did speak to her. She said, "Yeah, I'm -- no, we haven't got a surgery

with Jo Cox House and .

GORANI: Did you -- and then you put two and two together and figured it if she was the one who was there?

LIGHT: Yes, and then he think surely not show this is a mistake, but that then obviously it becomes .

GORANI: And when it was confirmed?

LIGHT: It was just a complete shock. I mean, when we found that it was Jo and then, obviously, all our thoughts when to hopefully she'll survive and

now should be gone to leisurely and firmly, which is one of the top hospitals in the country, so we think, "Well, she's in safe hands. Things

are going to be OK."

But then you started to hear some of the stories about, you know, there was blood and what happened then you start to worry, but -- then it was

confirmed, it was devastating. And it is just feel, because remember, she -- irrespectively she's a politician or not. She's got family.

GORANI: She's a mother. Yeah.

LIGHT: She's got two young girls. They were probably in school.


LIGHT: What they went through and just in this day is something the young children should never have to go through.

GORANI: Absolutely right. Robert Light, the Councillor for Birstall & Birkenshaw joining us live in the studio. Thank you very much and our

condolences to the community.

And stay with us much more on the death of British MP Jo Cox, still to come after the break.


GORANI: Recapping our breaking news. Britain is in shock and that is not -- that is absolutely an accurate description of how people are reacting to

this horrified by the first deadly attack on a Parliament Member in decades.

Joe Cox was shot and stabbed in broad daylight on the street of her constituency near Leeds in England. Police have a suspect in custody.

They believe it was a loan incident and are still trying to determine a motive. Both sides in the Brexit debate have suspended their campaigning.

[15:25:00] Cox was an outspoken supporter of Britain staying in the European Union. We are hearing again and again about Jo Cox's passion for

fairness, her tireless work for the poor and the marginalized, and her warm spirit.

She was a freshman MP. She was elected in May 2015 and this was her first term. We want to play a clip of Cox speaking in Parliament last summer.

She's talking about her home district and it will give you, I think a small glimpse of the personality that so many people love and we're talking about



COX: Across the constituency of Muslims from India go Gujarat or Pakistan principally from Kashmir. And while as we celebrate our diversity, the

thing that surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we far more united and have far more in common and

that which divides us.

My constituency is also home Fox's Biscuits and Lion Confectionery, so I am sure you will not think it an indulgence, Mr. Speaker, if I describe Batley

and Spen as a constituency with an industrial heart wrapped in a very rich and pleasant Yorkshire landscape, geographical, historical and cultural.


GORANI: Well, that gives you a sense of Jo Cox, the person, the woman, the Member of Parliament. I'm joined on the phone now by Barry Sheerman. He's

a Labour MP for Huddersfield, the town not far from Birstall in West Yorkshire where Jo Cox was attacked.

Mr. Sheerman, thanks for being with us. How well did you know Jo Cox?

BARRY SHEERMAN, U.K. LABOUR AND CO-OP MP FOR HUDDERSFIELD: Very will indeed. She's been -- I knew her when she was working for Oxfam, the great

-- child you chose to (ph) obviously charity, the development charity. She was working for Gordon Brown, the former Prime Minister, when I did

Chancellor when my daughter was working for David Miliband and it's like losing a daughter.

They were the same age and with two, you know, the children and when she go into Parliament, of course, I've been here long time and I was able to

mentor her as I did several of that generation. And she was a rising brightest star and I'm just at a loss to think how -- what a waste of life

this has been.

GORANI: And it stress me that you said it's like losing a daughter.

SHEERMAN: Absolutely. At the same ages my daughter is now working with David Miliband in New York and, you know, she has children too and I just

think of these, you know, these little children. They're getting deprived of a mother by this senseless act.

GORANI: And, when you heard the news today, what's -- I mean, where were you? How did you take it?

SHEERMAN: I was campaigning on the referendum like -- with Jo, I'm fast believer on staying in Europe and I was doing my stuff in a big -- at the

basic successful company in the center of my constituency just down the road from where Jo's constituency is and gave me the feeling of, you know,

this is of what we do. This is -- and it -- the freedom we don't have consume. We don't have thought that.

We, you know, we wander around with no protection. We talk to people. We'd learned what is on their mind and then we take that back to us West

Minster. And this goes to a very heart of that great democracy we have in this country.

GORANI: And do you have any concern now that this is fundamentally going to change the way politicians in this country will do their jobs. There's

going to be a lot more insecurity.

SHEERMAN: This is so shocking that we gain absolutely and I know that recently there have been moved to make -- Members of Parliament more care

by the technical gadgets. But I think we need to look more carefully at how we do thing.

I don't want to ruin that wonderful relationship we have with our constituencies and constituents, but the pain subsides, you know, some

cheese pairing stupid ways of the county money that is made the Members of Parliament much more exposed to danger and we got to look at that

(inaudible) and look how so that we can -- just carry on with our duties, make free with our constituents be safe doing it.

GORANI: And also the search for answers, now, I imagine people really will want to know what could have prompted, what could have motivated a person

to do such a thing, murder someone, essentially, in broad daylight?

SHEERMAN: No, I can't believe that anyone with their right mind would pick on beautiful young woman in the prime of her life with so much to give to

our country and to our politic and the Parliament and to strike them down in the senseless way and at no rational mean shall he could that.

I don't know the fact of who did this and I don't know what is going on for there is absolutely appalling and we're in the country where we have little

of this, sort of crime to shock always, all of us to the car (ph).

GORANI: All right, well, our deepest sympathies to you, to her family and to the community.

[15:30:00] Barry Sheerman, Labour MP joining us on the phone with his reaction to the killing of Jo Cox. Still ahead, we'll have much more in

the story, including the look at the U.K.'s gun laws and how this shocking incident is so rare and how it could happen.


GORANI: Welcome back to this special edition of the program, we continue our breaking news coverage on the tragic death of British MP Jo Cox. I'm

Hala Gorani. Let's update you on our breaking news. Tributes are pouring in for a British lawmaker killed in a brutal attack today.

Jo Cox was shot and stabbed in broad daylight on the street of her constituency near Leeds today. Police have arrested a suspect. They are

still trying to determine a motive for this.

Cox was a Labour Party member and a vocal supporter of Britain staying in the European Union. Both sides in the Brexit debate have suspended their


Authorities broke the news of Cox's murder in an emotional press conference earlier today, take a listen.


WILLIAMS: Just before 1:00 today, Jo Cox MP for Batley and Spenborough was attacked in Market Street, Birstall.

I am now very sad to have to report that she has died as a result of her injuries. Before going into further detail, I would like to express our

deepest sympathies to have family and friends at this tragic time.

Jo was attacked by a man who inflected serious and sadly ultimately fatal injuries. Subsequently, there was a further attack on a 77-year-old man,

nearby who has sustained injuries that are non-life-threatening.

Shortly afterwards, a man was arrested nearby by local uniformed police officers. Weapons including a firearm have also been recovered. At 1:48

p.m. Jo Cox was pronounced deceased by a doctor who was working with a paramedic crew that were attending to her serious injuries.

This is a very significant investigation with large numbers of witnesses that had been spoken to by police at this time. There is a large and

significant crime scene and then there is a large police presence in the area. A full investigation is underway to establish the motive of this


[15:35:01] There are specifically trained offices with Jo's immediate family who are fully aware of what has taken place. And we would ask the

media to respect their privacy at this very difficult time.

Additional offices are working in the local community this afternoon and evening in order to provide reassurance and support to our communities.

Clearly as is inquiry as is in a very early stage and we have an individual under arrest. We are not in a position to discuss any motive at this time.

We are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident at present.


GORANI: So not in a position to discuss any motive, but you can imagine people really want to know was this man mentally ill? Did it have

something to do with the politics of the victim, Jo Cox? What exactly would push someone to do something so unthinkable?

Politically, the Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn says, "We have lost a much loved colleague." He said, he praised what he called Jo Cox's lifelong

record of public service and deep commitment to humanity. Listen to Corbyn.


CORBYN: We need to come together and express our deepest condolences to Jo and her family. We've lost a wonderful woman, we've lost a wonderful

member of parliament, but our democracy will go on, her work will go on. As we mourn her memory, we'll work in her memory to achieve that better

world she spent her life trying to achieve.


GORANI: Let's go live to Nic Robertson here's -- he is in Birstall near Leeds where the attack took place. What more do we know about the killing,


ROBERTSON: The questions, Hala, people are coming by us here and they're asking the same questions we're all asking, it's why, it's how.

The police at the moment are continuing with their investigation. The forensic teams are still on-site. Search teams still appear to be on site.

There are large number of police officers here, a big presence of this town just as the police said they will be to reassure the community.

This was market day, Thursday is market day in Birstall and at was busy. And the police has said they got a large number of witnesses to see and no

doubt they will be wanting to backtrack and trace the steps of the killer.

What was he doing immediately before if there were, and as we understand there were so many people in this town. Obviously that will give the

police an opportunity to try and build back that picture of where was he? What was he doing? What was he saying? Try to -- to try to discover his


Of course, the police do have him in custody and obviously will be questioning him. And right now, maybe learning precisely what motivated

him. But so far, at least the police are not sharing those details and making them public.

They are, however saying that they will continue this presence here to reassure the community. And that's what people here -- you get that sense

this evening. They do need that reassurance. They're in shock. They know that Jo Cox was deeply loved.

And I spoke to a young couple laying flowers at the statute just behind me earlier. That's what they told me that they know that she will be missed.

They know that she meant a lot to this community, that people like to hear their side. They feel this loss deeply.

GORANI: And I mean, I'm sure people are just desperate for answers as well. They want to know why someone would do something so absolutely

horrific. Do we have even the beginning of an answer to what happened, to what motivated this person?

ROBERTSON: You know, only the vaguest contours at the moment inasmuch of the -- inasmuch as the police have said that this is a local investigation,

but it has national and wider implications.

We know that in this heated referendum campaign, the MPs have been the target of accusations of lying, of vilification. We know that Jo Cox was

strongly to keep Britain in the European Union. We know the atmosphere that existed at the moment of one was of extreme tension and the feeling

that this was -- that this referendum carried a huge amount of weight for the people.

A little earlier, I spoke to that young couple leaving their flowers at the statute here to ask them what they thought, what they were feeling. This

is what they told me.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes it's sad and it's not about politics or anything else.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yeah, I'm not political at all, but with her being a public figure -- well with anyone being shot in the town center, it's quite

saddening. For Morley as well, it's the next town over, you don't think of it happening to somebody else but it's hard.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, we are all sad but, you (inaudible) but this, you know, unexpected.

ROBERTSON: What was this town like? Tell me about it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well I work in Morley and I live in Morley, but I do -- I drive so I come through Birstall a lot. Well they're the same, all the

West Yorkshire towns and villages are the same, they're all quite close knit and they're all, they're diverse.

[15:40:07] And you don't expect -- well, you can't speculate on thing but you don't expect anything of this nature because it is diverse and it's

peaceful and it's friendly and it's nice.


ROBERTSON: As I'm standing here now, more people are bringing more flowers, Hala. And everyone's going to have that same question they -- you

can hear it in the tone of this young couple here and we're hearing it in the tones of other people stopping to talk to us.

They don't understand. They don't really can believe that this has happened. People are shock and it is those answers, the answers that the

police are right now searching for and they're questioning the man they have in custody. Not clear yet when the police will make known whatever

else they're discovering at the moment, Hala.

GORANI: All right, Nic Robertson, thanks very much in Birstall. Well, here's why this is so shocking. Of course, the murder of any politician is

shocking but in this country that hasn't happened, the killing of a politician in office since 1990.

If you exclude the IRA, it's been decades, it's been, I believe more than 60 years. Let's get more now on guns in the U.K., the availability of

weapons. David Lowe is a security expert, he joins us from John Moores University in Liverpool.

Thanks for being with us David Lowe. And around world explain the availability of firearms. This is -- a Member of Parliament Jo Cox was

shot today.

DAVID LOWE, SECURITY EXPERT: It's very difficult to obtain firearms in the U.K. I mean there has been a clump down, we had Hungerford in '87, then

Parliament very quickly brought out a piece of legislation, basically prohibiting the use of the like of assault rifles, the purchase of them,

because obviously that some of these areas we talked about local gun clubs.

Then we have the other tragic events at Dunblane and, again, legislation has brought out with severe restrictions on the purchase and access to hand

guns. So it is very, very difficult to obtain firearms and in the U.K.

That doesn't mean to say that there aren't any, but clearly there are. But you're not looking it say for example, the United States, which is far more

open in the accessibility of firearms situations that we've seen with recent events in the likes of Orlando.


LOWE: So it is quite difficult.

GORANI: So to acquire a firearm takes a lot of effort. It's not impossible, obviously, people can if they want to, but it would take a lot

of effort and a lot of time and some sort of plan, right? It's not something that is readily available in the store. Yeah.

LOWE: Oh, that's right. Yeah, you mean, you have to apply. You'd be checked out and there are certain firearms that people just can't have. So

as I said, the ultimate, assault riffles, you wouldn't get one.

A semiautomatic pistol would be very, very difficult. You'd have to be a member of a gun club. And even then the type of ammunition that you can

use is, again, severely restricted.

The easiest access will be a shut gun and that's normally for the likes of farmers who apply for them. But even that it's very strict and very strict

controls in how you look after that weapon and where you keep it secure.

GORANI: And in this particular -- I mean, what we don't know, obviously, is what kind of firearm. There were reports perhaps that it was kind of

homemade. That it wasn't necessarily a very sophisticated weapon, but, of course, the end result is that, tragically, Jo Cox lost her life.

And what many people -- some of them might not know, some of them might know but law enforcement here is often not armed either. So confronting a

suspect armed with a firearm presents a whole host of challenges.

LOWE: That's right. But approximately, 7 percent of U.K. police offices are armed, that we have armed response vehicles. I don't think there are

day to day police duties as well but (inaudible).

GORANI: Oh, all right we lost the connection there with David Lowe, a security expert as I was saying joining us from John Moores University in

Liverpool and he was explaining how difficult it is to acquire a handgun in this country that you'd really have to have some sort of connection, apply

yourself, be patient.

It's not the kind of thing you just walk into a store and get a quick background check and buy like in the United States and also explained that

only 7 percent of police officers in this country actually carry a firearm.

So when you have to confront a suspect armed with a handgun that presents certainly a lot of challenges and presents a lot of danger as well for

them, putting themselves in harms way.

We'll be right back with a lot more on our breaking news.


[15:47:13] GORANI: Welcome back we continue our breaking news coverage of the killing of Jo Cox, a British politician only 41 years old. Gunned down

and also stabbed in broad daylight in her constituency today.

The country really is in shock. This is the kind of thing that has not happened since 1990 gun violence is extremely rare in the United Kingdom.

The London Mayor Sadik Khan newly elected, has released a statement mourning Jo Cox's death, "Everyone who met Jo knew she was special."

He writes, "In the year she was an MP she made more impact than others make in a whole parliamentary career. She was also warm and funny. I remember

her telling me recently that she was going to get permission from the House of Commons to park her little boat at Parliament so she could drive it to

work. It is typical of Jo that she was serving her community today doing what she loved when this horrific attack happened. She was the best of

politic, the best of labour and I will miss her." Sadik Khan in a statement today.

Well, reaction pouring in from many other people, high-level officials all the way down to neighbors who knew her. Just in the last few minutes, the

Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney gave his reaction to the death of Jo Cox.


MARK CARNEY, BANK OF ENGLAND GOVERNOR: On behalf of everyone at the Bank of England, I would like to express our horror at today's events in West

Yorkshire. Our thoughts, our condolences and our prayers are with Jo Cox's husband, her two young children, her extended family and her colleagues.

No, I did not know Jo Cox personally, but I know many of you in this room did and many, many more knew what a remarkable person she was."


GORANI: Mark Carney there. Now, sorrow for this loss has spread around the world and shock as well. People just can't believe that something like

this would happen in the United Kingdom. The Secretary of State, John Kerry, calls Jo Cox's murder an assault on democracy.

He went on to say, "I join you in expressing my deep sorrow that a young parliamentarian, who obviously was a young woman with an enormous talent,

has been killed in the conduct of her duties with her constituency."

Well, earlier today Hannah Vaughan Jones spoke with a friend of Jo Cox, Lisa Holmes described the type of person that Jo was.


HOLMES: I do know Jo Cox and I'm absolutely stunned. And as you probably would realize I'm incredibly upset as well, you know, a young woman being

attacked in this way and she also have -- a husband, young children and family. It's heart breaking.

[15:50:07] HANNAH VAUGHAN JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You say you know her, can you tell us a little bit about her?

HOLMES: Yeah Jo was, she was a local girl. She went to the same school my daughter is now attending. We meet occasionally at different events and

we've always get along very well. And I -- I'm just stunned. I just think it's horrendous.

VAUGHAN JONES: In terms of the geography of where this attack happened, we understand that it was on the street perhaps, because there was some

suggestion that the arrest of this 52-year-old male happened outside the building. It wasn't actually an attack that happened inside Jo Cox MP

surgery. Do you know -- does she regularly hold these surgeries with her constituents?

HOLMES: Yeah, yeah. It's quite a normal practice for MPs to hold surgeries. I would image they all do this. A live rhythm (ph), a common

meeting place its essential for (inaudible), you know, for constituents to get to see the MP.

And as I said earlier we would normally expect to need any security for surgery. Councilors often hold surgeries too and we would have never even

considered asking for any security because this is such an extraordinary incident. We wouldn't expect to happen.

VAUGHAN JONES: It really -- it is so extraordinary isn't it?


VAUGHAN JONES: But, I mean, in terms of West Yorkshire and where you are as well, is it even more surprising that firearms are being used or being

sold and bought in and around the streets of Yorkshire?

HOLMES: Well, we don't know where the firearm was obtained, but it certainly incredibly unusual for us to hear of a shooting in somewhere like

Birstall. It's a place a grew up. My parents still live in Birstall. It's somewhere I visit regularly including the library.

And it's just -- you just wouldn't expect this in this area. It's not an area that's known for having lots of -- problems with violence and

certainly not shooting incidents. It's just totally out of character for the area, absolutely.

VAUGHAN JONES: And Lisa, of course, we've got this E.U. referendum taking place in just a week's time. There's so much speculation as to whether

there is a link at all with that referendum and this horrendous incident that has happened today. But do you know whether Jo Cox was particularly

involved in the campaign to remain in the European Union?

HOLMES: I don't believe she was any more involved than other MP. I certainly, I've not been aware that she's been doing anything unusual, look

like that would even go close to what say (inaudible) the point they would do this to her. I know there are -- some of the reports are saying that

she just became involved in an argument that was going on between other people.

And I hope that, you know, much of this total incident. I hope it is simply that Jo Cox was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And this

wasn't an attack against her personally, because that raises a whole new list of worries for us.

So, unfortunate councils often do, too, because I was at a public meeting last night. You know, and that was about local crime. So we are all now,

I think, any elected member, I'm elected locally as a councilor. I think it's raised serious concerns for all of us if this appears to be anything

that was specifically against Jo, herself.


GORANI: So Holmes there speaking a little bit earlier, a friend of Jo Cox who was killed today in her constituency in the north of England.

Now from one shooting tragedy here in the U.K. to the aftermath of that mass shooting in the United States, President Barack Obama and Vice

President Joe Biden moments ago paid respects to the 49 people who died in that massacre in Orlando last weekend.

They are trying to bring comfort to those who lost loved ones in the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11. We expect Mr. Obama to make a

statement in Orlando soon and we'll bring you that live when it actually gets underway here on CNN.

We'll be right.


[15:55:48] GORANI: Well, updating you now on our breaking news, tributes are pouring in for a British lawmaker killed in a brutal attack. Jo Cox

was shot and stabbed in the streets of her own constituency near Leeds today.

Police have arrested a suspect. They're still trying to determine a motive. Cox was a Labour Party member. She was a vocal supporter of

Britain, staying in the European Union, as many of you know that referendum is in a week's time.

This is video by the way of the arrest of the suspect there on the ground. Both sides in this Brexit debate have suspended their campaigning.

Well, you may think to yourself, this reminds me of something that happens in the United States and that's because something very similar did happen.

Former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was targeted and shot at a meeting with her constituents in 2011 in Arizona, has released a statement

on the killing of British MP Jo Cox.

She says, "Just like on January 8th, 2011 did not deter America from its founding ideals, the British principle of pluralism and the nation's

democratic institutions will endure. However, the assassination of MP Jo Cox at the hands of a man driven by hatred is a manifestation of coarseness

in our politics and hatred toward the other that we must not tolerate. She was a rising star, a mother and a wife. Mark and I grieve for her family,

friends, constituents, and for the people of Great Britain." A statement by Gabby Giffords.

Thanks for watching. I am Hala Gorani. My colleague, Richard Quest, picks up the story after this.