Video: Four police officers wounded in street stabbing
Published 19/11/2011 | 14:36
Four police officers were injured, including three thought to have been stabbed, as they dealt with a disturbance today.
Eyewitnesses told how officers chased a man down the road and in and out of stores before he grabbed a knife in a butcher's shop. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after a violent struggle.
The drama brought chaos to Kingsbury, in the suburbs of north west London.
The condition of the injured officers, all men, were not immediately known.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Police were called at approximately 8.40 this morning to a disturbance in Kingsbury Road, Kingsbury.
"Officers attended and attempted to speak with a man, who subsequently attacked them.
"Four officers were injured during the incident and have been taken to hospital.
"A man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remains in custody at a north London police station."
Three of the officers are thought to have been stabbed while the other suffered a hand injury, it is not clear how.
A spokeswoman for London Ambulance Service said they took five patients to hospital, all conscious and breathing.
She said: "We were called at 8.50 this morning to an incident in Kingsbury Road.
"We sent two single responders in cars, four ambulance crews and a duty officer.
"We treated five patients, they were all conscious and breathing, and they were taken to hospital."
Shopkeeper Girish Modha said: "A man was shouting at police in a small alleyway next to a hairdresser's shop which neighbours mine.
"He grabbed a piece of fluorescent tubing and brandished it at police. He then ran down Kingsbury Road, going into a cash-and-carry shop. At one point I think he threw a brick and smashed a police car window.
"He then ran round the roundabout and carried on towards the Tube station. He went into a butcher's, got a knife and that's when the stabbing took place."
The incident is believed to have happened at the Kingsbury Halal Butchers just 100 yards from Kingsbury Tube station and in a busy shopping street.
Further down on the other side of the roundabout Ketan Vyas, the manager of the VB & Sons cash-and-carry store, described how a man aged 30-40 had burst into his shop chased by police.
He went on: "He picked up some cans of beans and threw them at the police and then carried on running out of the store and down the road.
"There were a lot of police after him. He was only in here for a few seconds. Fortunately no staff were harmed."
A worker at a Carphone Warehouse store opposite the butcher's said: "After the incident I saw about eight police officers on top of a man. Ambulances arrived to take away the injured policemen and the man was also taken away."
Kingsbury Road, normally busy with shoppers on a Saturday morning, was deserted either side of the roundabout, with police having blocked off the road in both directions.
Police said later that they had been called to reports of a man causing a disturbance in the street.
"Officers attempted to speak with the man before he ran into a local butcher's shop and grabbed a knife," a Yard spokesman said.
"Officers followed the man in an attempt to detain him and were subsequently assaulted.
"Four male police constables suffered stab injuries during the incident and have been taken by the London Ambulance Service to hospital.
"A 32-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and remains in custody at a north London police station."
Speaking close to the scene of the incident, Chief Superintendent Dalwardin Babu, the borough commander for Harrow, said that four officers had suffered stab wounds.
The first had stomach wounds, the second had head injuries and a slash to the arm, the third had stab wounds to a leg and the fourth had slash wounds on a hand as well as a broken hand.
Police forensic experts continued to inspect the crime scene.
Simon Reed, Vice-Chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the attack highlights the dangers officers face on a daily basis.
He added: "Again, we have seen the dedication, professionalism and courage of police officers protecting the public and our communities.
"I'm sure everyone, including our critics, wish the police officers well and a speedy recovery."
Metropolitan Police Federation Chairman Peter Smyth said: "This incident demonstrates yet again the dangers that police officers face in the course of their duties. Our thoughts are with these officers and their families."
Mohammad Qasim, 51, owner of the Kingsbury Halal Butchers, described how a man walked into his shop and said: "Give me a chopper".
Mr Qasim, who has owned the shop for 24 years, said: "It was about 9.20, everybody was busy, customers come in the morning time.
"The man came quickly inside and said 'give me a chopper'.
"The boys who work for me said 'why give you a chopper?'. The man was very strong."
The shopkeeper explained how the man had then taken a butcher's knife which was about 12 inches long.
He said: "After a few minutes police came in and tried to catch him and he stabbed one.
"There was plenty of blood inside, everything was a mess and then police came and said 'go out'.
"Everybody came out and police went in and took the guy."
Asked how he was feeling, Mr Qasim said: "Very bad, I'm very upset."