'Unspeakably awful': Community grieves after six die in Plymouth shooting

13 August 2021, 07:34 | Updated: 13 August 2021, 13:17

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The "unspeakably awful" shooting in Plymouth that left six dead last night has led to an outpouring of grief and support both locally and nationally.

Devon and Cornwall Police declared a critical "serious firearms" incident in Biddick Drive, Keyham, on Thursday evening.

The force said two females and two males died at the scene along with another male who is now known to be the offender.

Another female was treated for gunshot wounds where the shooting took place but later died in hospital.

A "very young girl" under the age of 10 was among those killed in the tragedy.

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There has been an outpouring of grief and support following the deadly Plymouth shooting
There has been an outpouring of grief and support following the deadly Plymouth shooting. Picture: Alamy / Twitter
Police this morning at the scene of the shooting
Police this morning at the scene of the shooting. Picture: Alamy

Amid an outpouring of grief, Plymouth City Council said an "awful tragedy has happened in our city tonight", adding in a tweet that while "we don't know all of the details, our hearts go out to everyone affected by this terrible incident".

League Two football side Plymouth Argyle FC also posted on Twitter: "Our hearts go out to victims of tonight's tragic incident in our city, alongside their families, friends, and the wider Plymouth community."

Local figures and national leaders were among those to offer their sympathy and support to the community and the emergency services who responded to the tragedy.

On Friday morning, Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "My thoughts are with the friends and family of those who lost their lives and with all those affected by the tragic incident in Plymouth last night. I thank the emergency services for their response."

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Last night, Home Secretary Priti Patel wrote: "The incident in Plymouth is shocking and my thoughts are with those affected. I have spoken to the Chief Constable and offered my full support. I urge everyone to remain calm, follow police advice and allow our emergency services to get on with their jobs."

Her counterpart, shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds, described it as "truly terrible" news and said he was thinking of the families and friends of those who have died and been injured.

He added: "Thank you to our remarkable emergency services.

"I've been in contact with local representatives to express my support for the whole community of Plymouth on this awful evening."

His boss, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, tweeted: "There's much we don't know about the shocking events in Plymouth. However it's clear tragedy has hit Keyham.

"My thoughts are with the families and neighbours of those caught up in this nightmare. I pay tribute to our emergency services who ran towards events we'd all run from."

Plymouth MP Luke Pollard described it as "a very grim day for our city and our community",

The Labour politician wrote: "Just so unspeakably awful. My condolences and thoughts are with the families."

Ford Primary School and St Marks Church on Cambridge Road were quick to offer their support, with both agreeing to open their doors to local people on Friday morning.

Mr Pollard, who is set to attend with local councillors and police, said it will offer "a safe place for our community to come together".

A message from the Diocese of Exeter said: "Please join us in praying for those affected by this evening's situation in Keyham, Plymouth and keep safe and follow police advice if you are in the area."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wrote on Twitter: "Deeply saddened by the loss of life in Plymouth this evening. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected and the emergency service workers responding to this tragic incident."

Local MP for Plymouth Moor View Johnny Mercer urged people to "remain calm" and to avoid fuelling chatter about the situation.

Hello #plymouth - the news from Keyham tonight is grim. We know people have been killed and others are still receiving...

Posted by Luke Pollard on Thursday, August 12, 2021

The Conservative politician confirmed the incident was not terror-related and had not left a suspect on the run in the city.

He added: "It is for the police to confirm further details. Do not repost chatter or gossip; work with them. We have the best cops in the land."

In an earlier tweet, Mr Mercer said he was "aware of a serious and tragic incident unfolding in Plymouth".

The South Western Ambulance Service said it was called at just after 6pm on Thursday and responded with a "significant number of resources", including Hazardous Area Response Teams (HART), multiple ambulances, air ambulances, multiple doctors and senior paramedics.

With the identities of those dead and injured yet to be confirmed, Devon and Cornwall Police have set up a phone line for those worried about their loved ones.

You can contact the casualty bureau on 01752 487880.