Six people, including the shooter, his mother and a three-year-old girl have died after a firearms incident on Thursday evening that took place in the Keyham area of Plymouth.
The gunman has been named by local police as 22-year-old Jake Davison. He shot and killed his 51-year-old mother, Maxine Davison, in a house on Biddick Drive before shooting three-year-old Sophie, her father Lee Martyn, 43, Stephen Washington, 59 and Kate Shepherd, 66.
Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer of Devon and Cornwall Police added that the weapon used in the massacre was described as a “pump-action shotgun” and confirmed that a firearm had been recovered from the scene of the crime. Firearms officers had not engaged with Davison before he turned the weapon on himself and police did not fire any shots, Sawyer said.
He said at a press conference outside Crownhill police station in Plymouth: “An event like this touches all communities, all people, no matter where you are in the world. And the events I will tell you about are particularly traumatic.”
He said there were a “considerable” number of phone calls to emergency services and that police arrived at the scene within six minutes. The South Western Ambulance Service said hazardous area response teams (HART), multiple ambulances, air ambulances, doctors and senior paramedics were all dispatched to the location.
Sawyer said: “Mr Davison then left that address, entered Biddick Drive where he immediately shot then killed a very young girl, he also shot and killed the male relative of that girl. This was a truly shocking event and was witnessed by members of the public.”
He also revealed that Davison had fired at two other people on the street and, although they were taken to hospital with significant injuries, these are not thought to be life-threatening. Davison then moved onto Henderson Place, where he shot another woman, who later died, before taking his own life.
There are said to be 13 different crime scenes in relation to the incident which lasted around six minutes.
Police have stressed that the incident was not terror-related and Davison’s motive is not clear.
The area remained cordoned off on Saturday, with officers in white forensic suits working at the scene and a coroner’s ambulance was filmed leaving. Neighbours and nearby residents have not been allowed to return to their homes while the investigation is ongoing.
An eyewitness named Sharron told the BBC: “Firstly, there was shouting, followed by gunshots - three possibly four to begin with. This was when the shooter kicked in the door of a house and randomly started shooting. He ran from the house shooting as he ran and proceeded to shoot at a few people in the linear park up from the drive.”
Local MP Luke Pollard called the tragedy “utterly heartbreaking” and told the BBC that the community was “trying to make sense of what has happened”. He added on Twitter that the Ford Primary School and local churches will be open to people as safe spaces.
People are waking up to the grim news that five people and the shooter have died in the #keyham shooting. Hearing t… https://t.co/V1Ps3doX1A
In a tweet, prime minister Boris Johnson said: “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.”
Home secretary Priti Patel added: “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.”
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today Programme, Plymouth City Council leader Nick Kelly said: “What we do know though is, tragically, six people have lost their lives. Although we are a major city, we just don’t have crime, and certainly, nothing like this in my living memory has ever happened in our city.”
In several videos shared on YouTube, that have since been removed, Davison had expressed feeling isolated by the world and that he had struggled to meet women, making reference to the ‘incel’ – an abbreviation for involuntarily celibate – movement.
As widely reported, he also “liked” a series of videos about guns, and shared posts on Facebook quoting former American president Donald Trump.