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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Police Kill Suspect In London Bridge Attack; Police: London Bridge Attack Is A Terrorist Incident; Dutch Police: Several People Wounded in Stabbing. Aired 2-3p ET
Aired November 29, 2019 - 14:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.
LYNDA KINKAID, CNN HOST: Hello and welcome. I'm Lynda Kincaid. Tonight, we begin with Breaking News. London police has shot and killed a suspect in what they declared a terror incident.
Police say the man stabbed several people with a knife while wearing a hoax explosive device. Several people have been seriously wounded in that attack. And what we're about to show you is disturbing new video of the altercation between police and the suspect.
Now, we're not going to show you the moment the suspect was shot, but this is the scene moments before. An eyewitness says people approached the man trying to wrestle the knife out of his arms.
You can see them trying to disarm him. They pushed him to the ground, and now the man was dressed in a suit, and it appears that he managed to get the knife from the man. Those shots you're hearing just there were obviously police shooting at the suspect, too. He was indeed wearing what they thought was an explosive device at the time. It turns out later that it was a hoax device.
Now, we have blurred the identities of those involved. It's unclear exactly what some of those people involved, whether they were police officers undercover or whether they were civilians.
But it's clear that many people on the scene, London people in ordinary clothes going about their everyday life got involved to help.
Now, British police have explained why they believe this indeed was a terrorist attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL BASU, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: Due to the nature of the incident, we responded as though this was terrorist related. I'm now in a position to confirm that it has been declared a terrorist incident.
I can confirm it this time. We believe a device that was strapped to the body of the suspect is a hoax explosive device. Officers continue to carry out meticulous searches in the area to ensure there is no outstanding threat to the public.
Those extensive cordons will remain in place for a considerable time. And I would ask the public, please, continue to avoid the area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKAID: Well, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson weighed in on the London Bridge attack just a short while ago. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I think we're all very saddened also to learn that some people have been injured in this event and our sympathies are very much with them and with their loved ones.
Clearly, the Metropolitan Police are continuing their investigations and I can assure you and assure everyone that anybody involved in this crime and these attacks will be hunted down and will be back to justice and I think the message that we send to them and anyone associated with this type of attack is one that will be familiar and that is that this country will never be cowed or divided or intimidated by this sort of attack and our values -- our British values will prevail.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKAID: Our Nina dos Santos is near London Bridge where the incident occurred. And Nina, you headed to that scene not long after that attack took place and you have been speaking to witnesses. Just bring us up to speed with what you've been hearing.
NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR: Yes, I arrived on the scene just before 3:00 p.m. So that was about 45 to 15 minutes after this incident unfolded. Let me just step back and show you roughly where it did unfold. About 200 to 300 meters up the road there, just past that parked red London bus which is just behind the next security cordon. That is where things began to unfold.
You can probably see in the distance two police officers walking this way and another police car, that is where we believe that assailant was fatally shot by those police officers after brandishing a knife.
We know that the Mayor of London has said that a number of people have been stabbed, and that their knife wounds mean that they are in a critical condition. We're waiting to see word on how they're faring.
There is a large hospital nearby here, just a block away to my right that specializes in treating traumas, like knife injuries. And when it comes to the witnesses, I was speaking to them from about 3:00 p.m. as I was saying before, Lynda and I spoke to a couple of Italian tourists who said that they just literally walked off London Bridge. They suddenly heard pop-pop-pop and then they realized a flood of people were being evacuated from some of these buildings and started racing down this street, Tooley Street. On my right is one of the biggest London train and subway stations,
London Bridge that was shut down for about four hours as a result of the security situation in this region.
We also heard Metropolitan Police helicopters circling overhead for the best part of three hours.
DOS SANTOS: Now gradually, things are starting to return to normal. But I must say, a few hours ago, it was a very different situation. I came across, when I first arrived on the scene, a mother and her four- year-old child terribly distressed at what they had seen, and having had to run in the panic.
Also a journalism student who says that this is the second time she has had a lucky escape from what has been described as a terrorist related incident because she was near the finish line of the Boston Marathon a number of years ago, when of course, that was subject to a terrorist attack.
She said she recognized straight away when she heard the gunshots and saw the people moving, that it was the same sense of panic in their eyes -- Lynda.
KINKAID: Incredible and Nina, you sort of said things are starting to return to normal. We have seen pictures of people seemingly going about their business of what is after seven o'clock at night there in London.
And Nina, just explain for us what -- if everything is reopened? Because I think he said the train station has now resumed operations. Is the bridge still shut down?
DOS SANTOS: It looks very much as though the British -- just to step back away, as you can see there, the security cordon begins about a block before the traffic lights, the signals before the bridge.
Interestingly enough, as you can see as the camera zooms in that some of the police cars are starting to clear from the bridge there.
But the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, Neil Bazu, who you just heard a snippet of earlier on in your introduction made it clear that some of these security cordons are likely to stay in place for some time.
When it came to the London Bridge attacks back in 2017, remember, this is an area that suffered an even more devastating terrorist attack back in 2017. They -- those cordons were in place for quite some time, and it was the same thing with the security radius around the Westminster Bridge earlier in 2017.
Remember, the timing of this incident is also key as well. We're about two weeks away from a general election. So obviously, this is a crucial in important time, a time when obviously the spotlight is on London. It is on the capital at a time when also the busy Christmas shopping
season gets underway. Today, of course is Black Friday, and a lot of people are starting to wind down the day to try and get back home after the busy working week -- Lynda.
KINKAID: Absolutely. All right, Nina dos Santos for us. Not far from London Bridge there. Good to have you with us. We will speak to you again soon.
Well, earlier today my colleague, Anna Cabrera talked with a witness who was stuck on a bus by the bridge as that incident unfolded.
Now, he started recording moments before the police arrived and witnessed citizens arriving and police trying to disarm the suspect. Here's what Lloyd Griffiths had to say about that terrifying moment.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LLOYD GRIFFITHS, WITNESS TO LONDON BRIDGE INCIDENT (via phone): When I realized something was happening, I kind of looked up for my phone and it looked like members of the public were fighting with a man that was trying -- it looked like he was trying to pin down onto the pavement on the left hand side of the pavement on London Bridge.
At that moment, I kind of saw like -- it looked like a shine of light come across from the man on the floor. And I realized quickly it was a knife like the sun shining on the knife. It was a relatively large knife.
At that point, I thought maybe it was something quite serious that was going on there. And very quickly, there was at least one member of the public who went out of their cars to help. And then the police went over with some guns and it ended with a man being shot.
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: So it was your understanding as you were recording that it was a police officer who fired that shot?
GRIFFITHS: Yes, definitely. Yes.
CABRERA: How quickly did the police respond to this incident?
GRIFFITHS: Within seconds. They were very, very fast.
CABRERA: And that was even before --
CABRERA: That was before you started recording?
GRIFFITHS: The police weren't there when I first started recording, but from my first -- I think it was maybe, I think maybe 20 seconds later. So this was all under a minute. I would say they were very quick and very swift and thank goodness for the police in London.
CABRERA: And after you stopped recording, then what happened? GRIFFITHS: We were kind of locked in the bus for a little bit. And
from that moment then, we were -- everybody was kind of like wondering what was happening and we didn't know if the person had explosives on him or anything like this.
So we all kind of went to the back of the bus to get as far away as possible. And then we heard the police kind of like shouting at us and people -- more or less saying one -- so the driver open the doors and then we'll just run quickly as we could.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKAID: Well, London Metropolitan Police have declared this an act of terror. I want to bring in CNN's terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank for more on all of this. Paul, good to have you with us.
KINKAID: So you've been a terror expert for many years and you've been an investigative journalist in London, just give us your reaction to what we've seen today because police were very quick to point out that they would treating this as an act of terror.
PAUL CRUICKSHANK, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST: Very quick to point that out, they now believe it was an act of terror though they do not yet know the motive. It appears that the reason that the attacker was shot dead is because he had a -- what looked like a suicide vest on and it was in fact a fake suicide. So police not willing to take any chances.
And we've seen that before, a couple of years ago, an attack on that same bridge where there were three attackers. It was a knife attack, in that instance in 2017. And those attackers were also wearing fake suicide vest and was shot dead by police and we've seen in some of these jihadi attacks that the perpetrators want to be shot dead by police because they think that will make them martyrs and they'll go to Paradise.
We do not yet know what the motivation was behind this attack, but that's certainly one possible scenario. Clearly, the police have evidence that this was a terrorist attack. But are not telling the general public yet what they believe the motivation for this attack was, and just like that attack in June 2017, coming just days before a British General Election -- Lynda.
KINKAID: Yes, exactly less than two weeks before that election. Paul, from what we're hearing from witnesses, it seems that police responded very quickly to this particular attack, and they certainly had to make that life or death decision as you say, this suspect was wearing what looked to be an explosive vest that later turned to be a hoax. How difficult is it to determine whether it's a hoax or whether it's a real explosive device at the time?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, you'd have to know the situation in question. But these officers have to act in real time. There were members of the public around them. If this was some kind of explosive device, they would want to do everything they can to make sure that it doesn't go off, that the members of the general public are not hurt, that they themselves and their fellow officers and not hurt.
So these sorts of decisions have to be made very, very quickly, but they have a lot of training for this sort of thing. You're right that the police responded very, very quickly. That was also the case in the attack in June 2017 on London Bridge, in that case, police reacted within eight minutes.
What we've learned from terrorist attacks in Europe and elsewhere in recent years is that all the killing takes place in the first few minutes of the attack, whether it's a knife attack or gun attacks, and so that response time is absolutely critical to try to save as many lives as possible -- Lynda.
KINKAID: Paul, talk to us about what authorities would be doing right now because obviously the suspect is dead? How will they be determining whether -- or what his motivation -- what the suspect's motivation was? Whether this was indeed inspired by a terror group? Whether it was directed by a terror group? What process would be taking place right now?
CRUICKSHANK: Well, first of all they want to see if he was part of any kind of extremist network, whether there were anybody that he was connected with that might themselves be moving forward to try to launch attacks.
There has got to be a lot of concern about that in the hours ahead, but they will be going through his social media accounts, seeing what his connectivity was to any extremist group.
There hasn't been any claim of responsibility so far in this attack. There's been nothing from any jihadi group, nothing from ISIS, nothing from any other type of group so far, so they will be kind of investigating this round the clock now, particularly looking at the social media aspect of it, looking at what they might have found in his cell phone to try to figure out who he was connected to, and why he did this.
It is all is about protecting public safety in the hours after an attack like this. There's always concern as well that other people may attempt copycat attacks, so they may be inspired by what they see to themselves move forward and launch action.
And so police will be on higher alert right across the U.K., and indeed across Europe. This comes at a time when actually the sort of ISIS jihadi threat to Europe has decreased, certainly decreased from a peak in 2015, 2016, 2017, where we saw a lot of attacks and a lot of plots. We haven't seen a lot of activity in the last year or so, last couple of years since ISIS has lost all that territory in Syria and Iraq. And since many of its top operatives have been killed or have gone on the run. They've not been able to have the space and the time to plan, to instigate, to inspire attacks like they have in recent years.
And just in the last week, there was a major push online coordinated by Europol to take ISIS propaganda off Twitter, off Google, and especially of Telegram, the messaging app -- Telegram, which has been used a lot by ISIS sympathizers and by ISIS to put their message out. That may be the reason we haven't seen any claim of responsibility so far, if it is, indeed -- there is indeed some kind of ISIS link up, it is because ISIS is really struggling to get their message out.
KINKAID: All right, we are keeping an eye on whether there will be any claim of responsibility. And we'll bring that to our viewers when we get it. Paul Cruickshank, as always, thanks so much for your analysis.
Well, earlier, London's Mayor offered his heartfelt thoughts to those affected by this attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SADIQ KHAN, MAYOR OF LONDON: It has been confirmed that a number of people were injured in the attack, some seriously. My heart goes out to them, their families and all those affected. As soon as it is possible to provide an update on that condition, the Met Police will do so.
I want to thank our brave emergency services who responded to today's horrific attack. Every day, they put their lives on the line for us running towards danger in order to keep us safe.
I would also like to thank members of the public who risked their own safety this afternoon. They are the best of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKAID: The best of us indeed. I want to get more insight from someone who knows very well the challenges that London faces. Dal Babu is the former chief superintendent for the London Metropolitan Police and joins us now live. Good to have you with us.
DAL BABU, FORMER CHIEF SUPERINTENDENT FOR THE LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: Hi, Lynda.
KINKAID: So the suspect is now dead and there are a lot of unanswered questions as to who the suspect is and what the motivation was behind this attack. Talk us through what police will be doing right now to do to answer those questions.
BABU: Well, normally you'd speak -- obviously, speak to the suspect, but as you say, the suspect is dead. There are suggestions there have been two falities, two people dead. We're not sure exactly what the injuries are to the rest of the individual.
So this is a serious incident and my heart goes out to the victims and their families because people would have either been doing Christmas shopping, it's Black Friday event here today. So a lot of people out there shopping, or they would have gone out for their lunch hours. On the other side of the bridge, two and a half years ago, there was
an attack where eight individuals were killed. And so we people will be very, very concerned and worried.
Now, as it happened, the attacker chose the side of the bridge which is governed by City of London Police. London has three different police forces, the Metropolitan Police, City of London, and British Transport Police, and the City of London Police cover a very small area. So you had officers reacting very, very quickly.
In London, we've actually had quite a significant reduction and across Britain in police officers and there's a big debate in our general election about the need to replace those police officers and the police staff.
So in some ways, the fact that this attack happened on the one side of London Bridge which is coterminous with City of London Police, Met Police were able to respond very, very quickly.
I think what the police will be doing now is identifying the attacker, looking at phone records. They will be looking at Internet records. They'll be going to his home address. They'll be speaking to members of his family and public friends. And they'll be trying to establish whether this was a sort of lone wolf or whether this was somebody who is part of a larger network.
KINKAID: I want to ask you a little bit more about that rapid response time that you mentioned, because after that 2017 terror attack, there was a lot of criticism for the response time by authorities, particularly from the families of the victims of that attack. What changed after that attack? Why do you think we did see a response that was quite rapid?
BABU: Well, as I've said, it was on the side of the bridge, London Bridge that is controlled -- it's within the footprint of the City of London Police, and their footprint is basically the city, the financial area of London.
So they've got a lot of resources. They don't have the same challenges as the Metropolitan Police in policing a much wider area or indeed British Transport Police.
So in some ways, it was a stroke of luck that the attacker chose that side of the bridge, and the police were able to respond very, very quickly because there are some -- per square yard, there's more police officers in the City of London than there is in other parts of the U.K. and London.
KINKAID: At the start of this month, just a few weeks ago, the terror threat level was lowered. It is possible that was a mistake?
BABU: I wouldn't have thought so. I think you've still got a huge amount of resources going in to deal with counterterrorism. And I think the police would, you know, the police have to make a decision at some stage along with the security services. So the fact that we've lowered the threat level wouldn't have
necessarily meant there's less resources. There would have been -- ironically, there would have been more resources because it's Black Friday. They would have had more resources during Christmas time, so I don't think that in itself would have resulted or contributed to this particular attack.
KINKAID: When you look at the vision and we're obviously getting a lot of vision that's coming into us on social media and people that are sending it through to us, witnesses. Talk to us about the bravery of those involved because we saw every day Londoners literally trying to wrestle this suspect to the ground to remove the weapon that was used in this attack. What do you make of that? It is certainly incredible.
BABU: Absolutely. It shows a huge level of bravery. There's no other word for it. You've got somebody who's wielding a knife. That alone and the rumors are, the suggestions are that two people have died and there have been multiple injuries. So we don't know the details.
But this is an individual that was using a knife and was determined to kill and it appears has been successful in killing individuals.
But in addition to that, you've got somebody who appears to be wearing a suicide vest. Now, nobody, including the police officers that would have carried out the shot or indeed members of the public, nobody would have known if that suicide vest was real or not.
So they showed, you know, double bravery of dealing with that knife, dealing with an individual that had already injured many people, but in addition, had a suicide vest. So at any moment, potentially all of those individuals around him could have been blown up and killed.
KINKAID: Absolutely, certainly, as you say, bravery, the key word there. Dal Babu, former chief superintendent for the London Metropolitan Police. Thank you very much.
And as we just heard, we are trying to confirm as to whether there have been any of the victims in this attack. At this stage, we know that several people was severely injured in that incident and we are working to confirm whether there have been any fatalities. We're going to take a quick break. We'll be right back.
KINKAID: Welcome back. Updating our breaking news, British police have shot and killed a suspected terrorist near the London Bridge.
Now some viewers may find this video we are about to show disturbing, but it appears to show the moments after we are hearing civilians wrestled the suspect to the ground.
Police arrived and began to try to move people away from that scene and we're also seeing a man wearing a suit. You can see him running away with the knife. It appears, he may have taken the knife off that suspect. We are blurring his face as we don't know his identity. Obviously, officers there you can hear shooting the suspect.
Well, officials report several people are wounded. London's Mayor is praising what he calls the breathtaking heroism of ordinary Londoners.
Police say the suspect had -- also had a fake bomb strapped to his body. I want to bring in Sajjan Gohel. He is the International Security Director for the Asia-Pacific Foundation. Good to have you with us.
SAJJAN GOHEL, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR, ASIA-PACIFIC FOUNDATION: Good to be with you.
KINKAID: Just give us a sense of what you make of how this terror incident as it has been called by police unfolded?
GOHEL: Well, it seems to have some eerie similarities to the previous attack on London Bridge just about two and a half years ago. That was a bigger incident. There were three individuals. They mowed people down in a vehicle and then started stabbing people.
But in this location of London Bridge, we again see an attack unfold. And this time again, we see an individual armed with a very large knife stabbing people, and it seems some reports are suggesting that two people have died because of those wounds.
We've also seen the police having to react very quickly. It's also interesting that this time it was the City of London Police that had to be the first responders whereas previously it was the Metropolitan Police.
London has a complicated system where the City of London Police which are in charge predominantly of the square mile, which is mostly the financial district, they were closest to the scene and therefore had to react.
KINKAID: And only a few weeks ago, authorities in London downgraded the terror threat. What exactly does that mean? And could that have played any part in what happened today?
GOHEL: Well, I don't think we need to overthink the threat level being reduced. It's important to identify that because it's certainly based on what the Intelligence Agencies are picking up through electronic chatter, through their own other forms of Intelligence communications.
But it doesn't necessarily reduce the counterterrorism efforts that are taking place on the ground. Funding doesn't decrease. The operational presence also doesn't stop.
And because today was Black Friday, where there were going to be a lot of people shopping, especially in very busy parts of Central London, there would have been police vigilance there. And keep in mind that British law enforcement don't necessarily carry firearms as other countries do in major cities.
KINKAID: And we are seeing obviously a lot of images, a lot of videos particularly on social media from witnesses who were there as this incident unfolded, everyday people going about their day, wrestling the suspect to the ground, taking away the weapon and obviously helping police who then shot the suspect.
How is that vision important when it comes to building evidence as to how this all unfolded?
GOHEL: All this video footage that we're seeing, that's being broadcast, that is proliferating -- this is Intelligence. This will be used in the investigation to ascertain how it happened, how it unfolded. It also potentially can be used to see where this individual came from, what form of transportation did he take to get to Central London?
I think what's also significant and this is also showing a difference to how terrorism has been dealt with in the past, is the fact that members of the public have been much more proactive. They're no longer willing to stand aside or even run away. They are potentially willing to confront the attacker, which shows how brave they are.
And keep in mind that this individual had a fake suicide vest. But at the time, no one knew it was fake. So those members of the public and the police that turned up on the scene that then had to fatally shoot the individual, they put their own lives at risk in order to protect others. And that is very noteworthy.
KINKAID: It certainly is, so Sajjan Gohel, we'll have to leave it there for now. But good to get your analysis and perspective on this. Thanks so much for joining us.
KINKAID: We are following that breaking news out of London. A suspect shot and killed by police after a stabbing attack on London Bridge. We're going to have much more of these breaking news story after a short break.
KINKADE: Hello. I'm Lynda Kinkade.
I want to update you on the breaking news we're following this hour. London police have shot and killed a man after a knife attack on London Bridge.
And just a warning, a video of police confronting him is disturbing. Eyewitnesses tell CNN the man pulled out a knife and then passersbys tackled him, that's when police showed up and opened fire. London metropolitan police say he had fake explosives strapped on him. And they add that investigators are treating the incident as a terror attack. London mayor city, Khan, praised the everyday heroism of Londoners.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR SADIQ KHAN, LONDON: Another example of the bravery and heroism of all Londoners running towards danger, risking their own personal safety to try and save others. And I want to say thank you to them on behalf of all Londoners but also -- because it shows the best of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, Nina dos Santos, she is near the London Bridge where that incident occurred. And Nina, this terror -- this active terror which is what police are calling, unfolded around 2:00 p.m. local time. Just take us through, bring us up to speed with what we know.
DOS SANTOS: Well, what we know so far is, yes, as you said around 1:58, just before 2:00 p.m. in the afternoon on this busy Friday, busy part of London. Just south of the river, police say that they were called to an incident in reports to a man brandishing a knife, as you can see from that eyewitness video that has been circulating on social media.
We have this very dramatic scenes of this man with a knife and various passerby trying desperately to try and stop him. The police say that throughout the course of those events, a number of witnesses and passerbys knife suffered wounds. Some of them, according to Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, are in a critical condition.
And then one of those witnesses appears to have been pulled of a man by potentially an undercover police officer or a marks police officer before two or three other arms, specially trained police officers discharged their firearms and shoot that individual dead.
As you mentioned, just before the police have said that they now have managed to ascertain this individual who was wearing a fake suicide vest. And that they believe that this incident, for the moment, has been contained at least according to the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who's given a statement in the last couple of hours with words to that effect.
Certainly here in the nearby vicinity, I've been here for the last nearly five hours. I arrived myself around about 45 to 50 minutes after this incident occurred, things are starting to get back to normal.
I'm close towards London Bridge station. As you can see behind me, the security cordon has been lifted by another 50 meters. And London Bridge, finally, has reopened. Much of the delight of many Friday commuters. This is a very, very busy train and subway station used by thousands of people every single day.
And just to give you an idea the sort of area here, we're talking about a mixture of tourists who visit this area, it's very close to not just the Thames but the other key bridges like the iconic Tower Bridge, not far from the Tower of London either. And landmarks like, for instance, The London Dungeon museums here on this very street, Tuly (ph) Street that many tourists go to.
But also, there are shopping malls and many different office blocks like the ones behind me, as you could see there.
Above these office blocks, what we saw from couple of hours today were much more than police helicopters staying over the scene, monitoring things, The Shard over there on the left. One of the tallest buildings in London was on lockdown for a number of hours, as a result.
Some of the people inside these office buildings actually are the very people who captured this kind of dramatic footage that was taking place in -- on London Bridge.
Now, London Bridge, of course, has seen these scenes before. It was in summer 2017 when there were another series of even more deadly terrorist attacks that occurred here. And Westminster Bridge attacks happened just only a few months before that also in 2017.
Since then, the U.K. has had a heightened state of national security. But it was actually reduced in terms of the threat level just early this month to the third highest.
Obviously, the question is now, whether or not in light of this given the sensitive timing, just two weeks before general election, Lynda, whether or not the police and the counterterrorism officials may decide to revise that.
KINKADE: Exactly. We'll wait and see how that plays out.
Nina dos Santos for us in London, good to have you there, not far from this act of terror. Thanks very much.
Well, I want to bring in a -- eyewitness who actually filmed some of these incident as it unfolded.
Luke Poulton joins us on the line. And he had a pretty clear incident of this as it happened. Luke, just explain what you saw, as you filmed this.
LUKE POULTON, LONDON BRIDGE ATTACK WITNESS (through telephone): So I've been on places had gotten to go to lunch and then have been told that the building was locked down. And then moments after he said that, we then heard four gunshots and so people running across the bridge.
And after everyone had left the bridge, the police were then going around the bridge. And there was a lorry that had been left in the middle when they started picking up may have been bit suspicious and starts checking to see if anyone was out as they went around the back and try to open the doors. You know, that's what I saw. And then in a reception area, we have a telescope where when people will come in like in the ground of London Bridge from that (INAUDIBLE) we were able to look at the whole bridge and see the man after he had been shot by the police.
KINKADE: Wow. So you would have seen those Londoners and obviously the place try to wrestle with the suspect to get the weapon out of his hands.
POULTON: Yes. So we saw after he had been tackled by the police, shot by the police. We then saw all the police surrounding him after it all happened.
KINKADE: And you were filming from an office building near the bridge.
POULTON: Yes. We're almost outside of the bridge.
KINKADE: Right. So describe the feeling from people in your office as you were watching this unfold.
POULTON: So everyone -- there were people that were very panicky about it. Some of them are like crying to it, so scared. We didn't really know what's going on. We're hearing gunshots, just seeing people running and screaming. It was terrorist line for us.
KINKADE: One of the headlines I saw, it said, terror returns to London. Is that the feeling now -- do you feel that? Do people you work with feel like that?
POULTON: I think yes, those people are very scared of that because two years ago when the other London Bridge attack happened, they were working there at the end of that point. And it's scary that then related this happened also.
KINKADE: So at the time the last incident back in 2017, you weren't working in this vicinity.
POULTON: No, I was working near at that point. But some people that I work with were there when that happens.
KINKADE: What did you think when you heard that the suspect may have been wearing an explosive vest?
POULTON: I think that it makes it even more frightening and the civilian actually decided to tackle him to the ground without really knowing if it was real explosives is, I think, is incredibly brave.
KINKADE: And I imagine you've been contacted or you've reached out to family and friends to tell them kind of what you witnessed and how this all played out?
POULTON: Yes. My mom -- I just told her -- because she was getting text sign that there was a terror attack right nearby me, so straightaway, I was contacting her and she's got worried about it at first. KINKADE: Yes, no doubt. Every parent's worst nightmare.
Luke Poulton, good to have you with us. Thank you so much for sharing that vision with us and explaining what you saw.
Well, we are covering the developing news out of London, that terror attack. A man shot and killed by police after a stabbing attack. We're going to have much more after a short break. Stay with us.
KINKADE: Welcome back, we are keeping watch on that breaking news in London where police have shot and killed a man Friday after he stabbed several people near the London Bridge. Some of those people said to be in a critical condition.
Eyewitnesses tell CNN that several people tackled the man when he pulled out the knife. Police arrived and opened fire, killing the suspect.
Well, police tell us a fake explosive device was strapped to the man. Investigators say they are treating this as a terror attack.
I want to hear now from a witness who is near the London Bridge just moments after that incident.
Earlier, Owen Jones told us what he saw from people running away when police were telling everyone to keep moving. Take a listen.
OWEN JONES, COLUMNIST, THE GUARDIAN: I've left the area and that's when I saw the emergency services (INAUDIBLE) shouldn't be. I was on my way for work. And I was about in cycle across London Bridge. And so the (INAUDIBLE) after the incident had unfolded and the whole area which certainly all the emergency services were arriving.
At that point, with the sirens and the area, obviously, I realized (INAUDIBLE) basically into a police cordon and it was being felt. People were running from the area and -- I need to put it delicately because we were very -- those people were fighting, obviously. And the police were yelling at them, keep moving, keep moving. It was -- well, obviously, people they're panicking (INAUDIBLE) and we need to obviously keep our (INAUDIBLE) directly affected.
And but it was -- you know, it was surreal. Moment when you're in the urban area, people are fleeing the area. You're about to cycle through emergency services swarming through the area, you know, (INAUDIBLE) slightly surreal because that's the film it goes --
ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: Yes, no doubt about it. Let me ask you, Owen, when you were -- when you were seeing people running, when you had this great police presence, did you have any idea what was going on? Did they tell you anything? And did you see anybody injured? JONES: No. You know, these -- when you are in these situations, it's very (INAUDIBLE) like how confusing it is and absolutely in these situations. Often people are watching at home how the better idea of people actually on the area checking social media themselves.
Because all of a sudden, the whole area, you know -- I'm just seconds before -- arrived seconds after the cordon was in a very rushed and frantic waiting, being (INAUDIBLE) to stop people coming across London Bridge. By then, you need to the way from the bridge itself that people were running.
And they've been told that urgently evacuate the area. I have friends who work there who were -- anything here, by the way, just (INAUDIBLE) any moment.
Had friends who have been evacuated from their places of work. Oh, there's a loud sound in there in their workplaces and watching the scene. Sorry (INAUDIBLE) on the top levels of their building.
So it's important to say that people don't -- you are needed -- don't need to be in the area (INAUDIBLE) but it was -- it was very for people where -- you know, when you're -- when you're in that area and -- you see people (INAUDIBLE) when you see a swarm of humanity running towards you, you instantly obviously find out very, very unsettling. And people were very, very, very worried (INAUDIBLE) emergency surrounded the area very promptly and (INAUDIBLE) happened. So they arrived. They (INAUDIBLE)
CABRERA: Well, accounts, this is still an ongoing incident. Owen, you just, you know, mentioned the sirens and we could hear them in the background there. Were those vehicles going toward London Bridge still?
JONES: Yes. They're all heading towards the area. So like I've been cycling. So I cycle going to Tower Bridge which is the next (INAUDIBLE) London Bridge. And the area was -- you know, ambulance and then police cars coming from certainly from different directions where you could -- so even now, we're quite far away now. I'm over a mile away from the -- from the area.
You can certainly still see the emergency services driving towards the incident itself. They obviously still in need of emergency (INAUDIBLE) heading in our direction.
CABRERA: And, Owen, real quickly, how big of an area is cordoned off, do you know?
JONES: Yes. It was very sizable because I cycled -- I tried to cycle to a different area and all the traffic of the major roads averted. So the area around London Bridge has been all cordoned off. And the area was being evacuated to people where of the same (INAUDIBLE) from the different directions and leave the cordoned off area (INAUDIBLE) part of that, obviously, a major part of it -- of London.
And as you probably know, we don't know yet, we'll see about that incident that happened.
JONES: In terms of nature, what we do know, of course. In 2017, there was a terrorist attack in that very area. So London Bridge, Borough Market, nearby, they already (INAUDIBLE) in people's head in London, you know, a terrible incident only in 2017.
KINKADE: Certainly a frightening time for people there in London. Police shooting and killing a suspect after a stabbing spree in central London.
We're going to have much more on this in just a moment. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.
KINKADE: Welcome back. Well, two years after a terror attack on London Bridge, it happened again. And the video of the incident we're about to show you is disturbing. We're going to show you the moment the suspect was shot, but this is the scene right before it happened.
An eye witness says people wrestled the knife, whirling suspect to the ground and disarmed him. Another man dress in a suit appears to be carrying the knife away from the scene of the attack. We have blurred his face because we don't know his identity.
The eyewitness says police then ran over with guns and pulled civilians off the suspect before shooting him dead. We also heard from a woman moments after the attack who took refuge in a nearby cafe. Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NOA BODNER, WITNESS (through telephone): So there was a rush of people running into the cafe, where the cafe at the base of the bridge. And people rushed in. Immediately, the manager ran and shot the door and locked it. And everybody basically stayed under and the tables and we were told that shots were heard.
And then at some point where we saw police coming to the bridge and closing it off. We were asked to move to the back of the restaurant, obviously, away from the windows. And everybody's been here (INAUDIBLE) trying to peach together all the information that we're getting from what we're seeing which is not a lot and just basically nobody is allowed to come through on the -- all the main roads and the station here.
We've heard that there's been a stabbing. We've heard that it's possibly that there was police that shot. And now everybody here just waiting to hear it's OK to come out again which is not heard yet. But hopefully, that we'll have soon. People are quite calm and just trying to support each other, I think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Well, British police have explained why they believe this was a terror attack.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NEIL BASU, ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER, LONDON METROPOLITAN POLICE: Due to the nature of the incident, we responded as though this was terrorist related. I'm now in the position to confirm that it has been declared a terrorist incident.
I can confirm at this time we believe a device that was strapped to the body of the suspect is a hoax explosive device. Officers continue to carry out meticulous searches in the area to ensure there is no outstanding threat to the public.
Those extensive cordons will remain in place for a considerable time. And I would ask the public to please continue to avoid the area.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: Sajjan Gohel, the international security director for the Asia Pacific Foundation joins us now live. Good to have you with us.
SAJJAN GOHEL, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY DIRECTOR, ASIA PACIFIC FOUNDATION: Good to be with you.
KINKADE: So as we just heard there from police, speaking about this explosive vest, this hoax vest that was strapped to the suspect following the stabbing spree, is that you think what determined police to pinpoint this is a terror attack?
GOHEL: Well, certainly, it does imply that it's connected to an ideological movement. And if we look at that particular aspect, the fake suicide vest, it was used in the previous London Bridge attack by the three individuals that orchestrated that two and a half years ago.
It was also a same similar tactic that was used in the Barcelona attack a couple of years ago as well where they used fake suicide vets.
So we've seen terrorist groups like ISIS used that tactic in many ways to intimidate the police to keep them from coming close to them. Now, of course, we still have to wait and see what the ideological motivations of this individual are. But we do know that it is a tactic used by terrorists.
KINKADE: We just got some breaking news into us that I want to ask you about. We're getting word of another stabbing attack. Now Dutch police say this one happened on a street line with shops in the city of The Hague.
Several people have been wounded. We don't yet know a motivation. We don't know whether this is being treated as a terror attack. But, Sajjan, can you weigh in on this? What you're making of yet another what seems to be -- seems to be a similar sort of stabbing spree.
GOHEL: Well, it may not be related and it may not even be connected to terrorism. But certainly, it is worrying when these incidents take place, especially in close time to each other.
And we know that the Dutch authorities have also faced the similar threat as the United Kingdom as had to deal with in terms of terrorism, in terms of lone actors that have carried out terrorist related activity. But also those that have returned home with the intention to plot and plan who have potentially received training abroad.
We'll have to just wait and see what the Dutch authorities come up with and what their intelligence agency, the AIVD, put together.
But certainly, it is a worrying time, and it's also a reminder, just because one terrorist group may be defeated, that doesn't mean that terrorism has disappeared.
KINKADE: We mentioned this earlier, the terror threat in London now, obviously, the lowest since 2014. It was lowered only just a few weeks ago.
But clearly in the lead up to Christmas, just talk to us about the timing of this attack in London.
GOHEL: So the lowering of the threat level is decided by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Center, JTAC, which is across agency organizations, it consists of the intelligence community, law enforcement community, and governmental bodies. And they make the decision depending on the information that comes to them.
So certainly, what we know is that they reacted based on the fact that no specific plot had been orchestrated. And for that reason, they lowered it. But that doesn't mean that the vigilance was lowered or that resources were reduced, the police were still very much taking the threat very seriously. It's just based on intelligence.
But in terms of operational capacity, the threats still remain the same. And the worry was that in the build up to Christmas and today being Black Friday, an important shopping day, that it was important that police were there in strengths as was proof today and the way they were able to thwart this incident from getting worse.
KINKADE: Excellent. All right. Sajjan Gohel, good to have you with us. Thanks so much.
KINKADE: I want to take a quick look back at the events of the day. Touting the voices of people who witnessed the terror attack unfold on London Bridge.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Earlier today, I heard a couple of gunshots like 10 or seven. And then I saw some people that are running away from the buses.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone, keep (INAUDIBLE) quickly. Just clear the area.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The rush of people running into the cafe with the manager ran and shut the door and locked it. And everybody basically dove under the tables and we were told that shots were heard. And then at some point where we saw police coming to the bridge.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) of the public sizing with a man that was -- it looked like he was trying to be pin down. I kind of saw like a -- it looked like a shine of light coming across from the man on the floor, and I realized quickly it was a knife.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then police run over with some guns and it ended with the man being shot.
BASU: I'm now in the position to confirm that it has been declared a terrorist incident.
KHAN: I would also like to thank members of the public who risked their own safety this afternoon. They are the best of us.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KINKADE: A man shot and killed by police in London after a stabbing spree.
Thanks for watching. I'm Lynda Kinkade. My colleague Richard Quest has much more on this developing story out of London, next. Stay with us. You're watching CNN.
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RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Good evening. I'm Richard Quest.