A man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after three people were killed in Nottingham city centre, with a further three left injured.
Nottinghamshire police said people had been left dead in the street after one incident, while in another a van had tried to run over others. Police said a 31-year-old had been arrested on suspicion of murder, and they believed all three incidents were linked.
Counterterrorism police are understood to be assisting the investigation as detectives tried to understand what triggered the incidents. Regular police were still leading the investigation, several hours after the first attack, which took place shortly after 4am.
The three attacks have not been declared as a terrorist incident, with police urgently investigating the background of the man they have in custody as they try to determine a motive.
Police are trying to locate any phone or computers the suspect used, and examining their contents, in order to understand what happened.
The incidents led to a massive police response, with cordons erected around Nottingham city centre and closures on the city’s tram network.
In a statement, Nottinghamshire police said: “Police were called to Ilkeston Road just after 4am where two people were found dead in the street. Officers were then called to another incident in Milton Street where a van had attempted to run over three people. They are currently being treated in hospital. A man has also been found dead in Magdala Road.
“Police have arrested a 31-year-old man on suspicion of murder and he remains in police custody.”
Lynn Haggitt, a witness, told Channel 4 News she saw a van hitting two people in Nottingham.
“At half past five I saw a van pull up at the side of me,” she said. “It was white, all white. There was a police car behind it coming up slowly, no flashing lights. The man in the driver’s seat looked in his mirror and saw the police car behind him.”
She said the white van then drove up to “the corner of the street and went into two people”.
“The lady ended up on the curb, and then he backed up the white van and he went, speeded up Parliament Street with the police cars following him,” she added.
When asked if the people hit were badly hurt, she said that a man appeared to have a head injury. “They did get him to his feet,” she added, but said of the woman who was hit: “She was sitting up on the curb, to me she looked OK”.
Nottinghamshire’s chief constable, Kate Meynell, said: “This is an horrific and tragic incident which has claimed the lives of three people. We believe these three incidents are all linked and we have a man in custody.
“This investigation is at its early stages and a team of detectives is working to establish exactly what has happened. We ask the public to be patient while inquiries continue. At this time, a number of roads in the city will remain closed as this investigation progresses.”
Police said the roads that remained closed were Ilkeston Road, Milton Street, Magdala Road, Maples Street and Woodborough Road from the junction of Magdala Road into the city, as well as the Maid Marian Way junction of Parliament Street.
Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, said: “I want to thank the police and emergency services for their ongoing response to the shocking incident in Nottingham this morning. I am being kept updated on developments.
“The police must be given the time to undertake their work. My thoughts are with those injured, and the family and loved ones of those who have lost their lives.”
The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, said: “Three people have lost their lives, so I’m sure I speak for everybody in this room when I say we’d like to just send our thoughts to all those affected and the emergency services who are responding to this as we speak.”
Nottingham’s three Labour MPs, Nadia Whittome, Lilian Greenwood and Alex Norris, said they were “shaken” by the events in the city.
A joint statement posted on Twitter by Ms Whittome said: “Our city has been devastated by the deaths of three people this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of those who have died and those injured.
“We are grateful for the efforts of the city’s emergency responders in tackling these incidents. They must be allowed to do their jobs in investigating them.”