Knifeman injures six men, including police officer, in Glasgow before being shot dead

26 June 2020, 13:36

By Fraser Knight

A knifeman stabbed six men, including a police officer, inside a hotel in Glasgow before being shot dead by police.

Armed police were seen storming an entrance next to the Park Inn hotel in the city centre this afternoon after reports of a stabbing.

A man entered the hotel after 1.30pm and started stabbing people in the reception area, it is reported.

Police Scotland confirmed six people had been injured, including police officer Constable David Whyte, 42, who is in a critical but stable condition.

Constable David Whyte, 42, is in a critical but stable condition after he was stabbed
Constable David Whyte, 42, is in a critical but stable condition after he was stabbed. Picture: Police Scotland

All six injured people, including the 42-year-old officer, are being treated in hospital. The other victims were men aged 17, 18, 20, 38 and 53.

The incident is not being treated as terrorism.

It is understood that the hotel was being used as temporary accommodation for asylum seekers during the coronavirus crisis.

In a statement, Chief Constable Iain Livingstone from Police Scotland urged Scots not to gather in crowds this weekend "in the context of the current health emergency and to respect those injured today and the people of Glasgow."

He said: Terrible incidents such as we have seen today are, thankfully, very rare in Scotland. This event has understandably shocked the people of Glasgow, and indeed, the whole country.

“My thoughts and very best wishes are with those who have been injured and their families, including our colleague Constable David Whyte who was seriously injured in the course of doing his duty. I offer my personal support to all those affected.

“Officers have once again run into danger to protect their fellow citizens. Their professionalism as police officers was outstanding. I pay tribute to their bravery, selflessness and commitment to protecting the public.

“I briefed the First Minister and the Prime Minister earlier today on the circumstances and advised them both that we are not treating the attack as a terrorist incident.

Police at the scene in the aftermath of the stabbing incident in Glasgow
Police at the scene in the aftermath of the stabbing incident in Glasgow. Picture: Social media

"It is essential enquiries are now carried out to establish the full circumstances and all speculation must be avoided.

“Scotland is a safe place to live and work. We have cohesive communities who work with their police service to maintain our peaceful and respectful way of life.

“In the context of the current health emergency, and to respect those injured today and the people of Glasgow, I ask everyone to exercise personal responsibility. Please, do not gather in crowds this weekend.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson's "thoughts remain with those injured" during the attack and he has spoken with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Home Secretary Priti Patel and senior police officers.

A Number 10 spokesman said: "The Prime Minister has this afternoon spoken with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about the incident in Glasgow.

"He has also held a meeting with the Home Secretary and senior police officers, in which he was updated.

Armed police officers leave the Park Inn hotel in West George Street, Glasgow
Armed police officers leave the Park Inn hotel in West George Street, Glasgow. Picture: PA

"The Prime Minister thanked the Chief Constable of Police Scotland, Iain Livingstone, for the exceptional bravery of his officers at the scene.

"The PM's thoughts remain with the injured and their loved ones."

A spokeswoman for campaign group Positive Action In Housing said the 91-room hotel was housing asylum seekers for the Mears Group, which moved them there during the coronavirus lockdown.

A Mears Group spokesperson said: "Mears Group is deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic events in the heart of Glasgow today. We are contracted by the Home Office to provide housing and support services to asylum seekers in Scotland.

"We will not anticipate a live police investigation, but we can confirm that the attack happened in a hotel where we are housing asylum seekers during the lockdown period.

"We will provide more details as we are able to and our priority is to look after the welfare of our service users who will no doubt be traumatised by this terrible event. Tonight, we also think of the staff in the hotel and our colleagues at the scene – all are in our thoughts."

Police on west George street in Glasgow
Police on west George street in Glasgow. Picture: LBC News

Several armed police officers in plain clothes were seen entering a doorway next to the Park Inn hotel.

Video from the scene showed bloodied people being taken from the Park Inn hotel on stretchers. One witness said he saw a man who appeared to have either been shot or stabbed in his side being treated by medics.

Witness Craig Milroy, who saw the aftermath of the incident from an office building nearby, said he had seen four people taken away in ambulances.

He said: "I saw a man lying on the ground, of African descent, with no shoes on. He was on the ground with someone holding his side - I don't know if it was a bullet wound, a stab wound, or what it was."

Mr Milroy said the man was one of the four taken away by medics and believed him to be a victim of an attack.

He added: "After that we saw commotion, ambulances further up and we saw armed police all running into the hotel next to the Society Room.

"We were still standing outside, after that the police all came down, the riot police and triage team told us to go back in and lock the door."

A witness who gave his name only as Dominic, told LBC News: “I started seeing the police running across shutting the street off.

"Within 5 minutes I noticed the top brass police arriving. Then the ambulances started arriving. There was a bit of fear.”

Ms Sturgeon said: "First and foremost, my thoughts are with all those people who have been caught up in this terrible incident, particularly the six injured people taken to hospital for treatment, as well as residents and staff at the hotel.

"I also want to thank all of those police officers whose quick and decisive actions contained the incident - one of whom was among those taken to hospital - as well as the work of the other emergency services."

She added: "The Justice Secretary and I have been kept informed through the afternoon and briefed by the chief constable.

"While such a serious incident is rare in Scotland, it is another reminder of the courage and professionalism of our police officers who are willing to run towards danger in order to protect the lives of others.

"Clearly there is already much speculation around this incident, which remains under investigation.

"I would urge everyone to avoid such speculation, to not share potentially harmful or upsetting material on social media and to follow police advice while investigations are underway."

Ms Sturgeon also said the police response "undoubtedly ensured that a very, very serious incident didn't become much worse".

Boris Johnson posted online: "Deeply saddened by the terrible incident in Glasgow, my thoughts are with all the victims and their families. Thank you to our brave emergency services who are responding."

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Deeply alarming reports coming from Glasgow. Please follow police advice and avoid the area. Thoughts are with the emergency services as they continue to respond to this incident."

David Hamilton, Scottish Police Federation chairman, said: "I understand that he's been stabbed and that he's in a critical but stable condition.

"I think it's just horrific, this is what you dread as a police officer going into a scene like this. It's something that police officers have to do, we have to walk into danger.

"It's pretty clear that the circumstances they have been met with were really pretty horrific and what they would have had to deal with has been exceptionally brave in terms of their actions thereafter.

"Our thoughts, prayers, and best wishes are with our colleague, his family and friends, and all colleagues affected by this incident at this time."