Accessibility links

Breaking News

Britain in Shock After Lone Gunman Kills 12

Britain is in shock and police are looking for answers a day after police say a lone gunman killed 12 people and injured at least 11 others in one of the country's most peaceful and picturesque regions, Cumbria in northwestern England.

Like most any country, Britain has its share of crime - murder, robberies, rape. But Wednesday's rampage, by suspected gunman Derrick Bird, shocked the nation.

Speaking before parliament a day after the killings, Home Secretary Theresa May said a full investigation is underway.

"More than 100 detectives have been assigned to the task," said May. "Their investigation will look into Derrick Bird's history, his access to firearms and to the motivations for his action."

During a three-hour shooting spree, the suspected gunman turned on former colleagues, acquaintances and total strangers as he drove through the towns and villages of coastal Cumbria, one of Britain's most picturesque areas. Bird's body was later found in a densely wooded area nearby. Police say he shot himself.

Bird, a 52-year-old taxi driver, was described by colleagues and neighbors as a normal, friendly but quiet person - someone who enjoyed having a beer with colleagues at the local pub. Police said they recovered a shotgun and a .22 caliber rifle with a telescopic sight. Bird had a license to own such firearms.

Even though Britain has very tight gun control laws, there are some calls to tighten them further.

Home Secretary Theresa May said that issue should be discussed after the police investigation is completed.

"Undoubtedly, yesterday's killings will prompt a debate about our country's gun laws," added May. "That is understandable and indeed it is right and proper. But it would be wrong to react before we know the full facts."

The rampage in Cumbria is the worst such incident since 1996 when a gunman walked into a school in the town of Dunblane in Scotland and killed 17 people.