Gunman kills at least a dozen people in UK′s Lake District | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 02.06.2010
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Gunman kills at least a dozen people in UK's Lake District

A man has gone on the rampage in the British county of Cumbria, killing at least 13 people. Police say they have found the body of the suspected gunman in a wood near a small village in the Lake District.

Police stand next to body in Whitehaven, Cumbria

At least one person was killed in the town of Whitehaven

A gunman went on the rampage Wednesday in a rural region of northwest England, popular with tourists. Police say at least 12 people have been killed and that number could rise, as several more people were injured.

Police officers have found a body, believed to be that of the suspect, 52-year-old taxi driver Derrick Bird, in woods near the Lake District town of Boot.

The shooting spree took place in the town of Whitehaven and nearby Seascale and Egremont. The area is a popular tourist destination, especially for walkers and climbers.

Multiple shooting incidents are rare in Britain where there are strict gun controls.

Manhunt for shooter

Police launched a huge manhunt for the gunman after the shootings began at 0935 GMT.

Handguns on sale in Nuremberg

Gun sales are under very strict controls in the UK

Locals, walkers and tourists were told to stay indoors and motorists were warned not to pick up hitchhikers.

Every armed officer in the county of Cumbria was involved in trying to capture Bird, and the manhunt led to Boot.

"I can confirm that we have found a body in a wooded area of Boot which we believed to be Mr Bird together with a firearm," said Stuart Hyde, Assistant Chief Constable of Cumbria Police.

Hyde said there had been a number of fatalities and injuries but would not confirm numbers until police had spoken to relatives.

No known motive

Currently there is no known motive for the shootings, and the suspected shooter has been described by those who know him as "a very quiet man."

Bird worked as a self-employed taxi driver in Whitehaven, where he was a regular in town and known as "Birdy."

In the UK, registration is mandatory for shotguns, which must be kept in secure storage. Handguns were banned in 1997 and semi-automatic and pump-action rifles are also outlawed.

Editor: Rob Turner

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