'Plymouth shooting is our 9/11,' Priti Patel told at floral tribute in Keyham

14 August 2021, 14:38 | Updated: 15 August 2021, 07:57

Priti Patel paid her respects to the victims of the Plymouth shooting on Saturday
Priti Patel paid her respects to the victims of the Plymouth shooting on Saturday. Picture: Alamy
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The Plymouth shooting is "our September 11", the home secretary was told by a Keyham local as she paid her respects to the victims at a floral tribute near to the tragedy.

Priti Patel laid a large bouquet of cream flowers at North Down Crescent Park while visiting Keyham on Saturday.

She was joined by local Labour MP Luke Pollard and Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police Shaun Sawyer at the scene where a vigil was held on Friday evening.

The police chief also laid a large bouquet of white flowers.

Read more: Vigil held to remember victims as police probed over gunman's licence

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Speaking with members of the local neighbourhood watch team, the home secretary said the mass shooting was "tragic beyond words", especially for those affected.

She said: "I'm sure everyone will have known each other and this really will have touched so many people's lives.

"But quite an important moment as well where people are coming together from across the community to support one another."

Read more: 'Unspeakably awful': Community grieves after six die in Keyham shooting

Read more: Jake Davison: How could Plymouth gunman get a firearm licence?

One member of the neighbourhood watch team, Kev Sproston, told Ms Patel the tragedy was "our September 11".

After speaking with the Cabinet minister, he told reporters: "How I define that is the fact that every single kid, every single adult, knows exactly where they were, similar to 9/11.

"To the point that I speak to people, and they will tell me exactly where their brother was, where their sister was, where their mother was.

"That's the impact that it's had on people, it's going to be something that is in their own minds and thoughts for a long period of time."

Meanwhile, around 70 floral tributes were left outside a Lidl supermarket in Keyham near the location of the shootings.

Green heart-shaped balloons bearing the names of the five victims - Maxine Davison, Lee Martyn, Sophie Martyn, Kate Shepherd and Stephen Washington - were tied to a nearby railing.

Mourners also left teddy bears and candles among the bouquets, some of which were left by civic leaders.

Lord Mayor of Plymouth, Councillor Terri Beer, wrote: "My deepest sympathy goes out to the families, friends and loved ones of those from our community who have been lost, injured and touched by this tragic event."

A large police presence remains in place at the cordons in Keyham, with streets in the area still closed.

Staff from Wiltshire Police, West Mercia Police and Avon and Somerset Police are assisting on mutual aid, an officer at the scene said.