A man was arrested on suspicion of murder in the English city of Nottingham Tuesday after three people were found dead and three others were hit and injured by a van in related early-morning incidents, police said.
“This is an horrific and tragic incident which has claimed the lives of three people,” said Nottinghamshire Police Chief Constable Kate Meynell.
She said two people were found dead in one street just after 4 a.m. and a third on a different street. The three wounded by the van were at a different location and were being treated in a hospital. There was no immediate word on their condition.
Witness Lynn Haggitt told reporters that a white van pulled up beside her at 5:30 a.m. and she saw the driver look in his mirror and spot a police car approaching slowly from behind without its lights on. The van then drove into a man and woman at a street corner.
“He went straight into them, he didn’t even bother to turn, just went back straight into them,” Haggitt said. “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 said the man appeared to have a head injury but was helped to his feet. The woman was sitting on the curb and appeared to be OK.
Police gave no immediate indication of a possible motive. The investigation was being led by local police, not counterterrorism officers.
“We believe these three incidents are all linked and we have a man in custody,” Meynell said. “This investigation is at its early stages and a team of detectives is working to establish exactly what has happened.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called it a shocking incident and asked that police be given time to investigate the crime.
“My thoughts are with those injured, and the family and loved ones of those who have lost their lives,” Sunak said.
Images on social media showed police, some with rifles, standing near cordons at several locations in the city center.
The city’s tram network said it had suspended all services.
Nottingham is a city of about 350,000 some 120 miles north of London.