A young British soldier is dead after reportedly being “hacked and chopped” to death by two black men Wednesday afternoon on a London street. Sky News reports the incident is being treated by government officials as a terrorist attack.
The victim was reportedly wearing a “Help for Heroes” t-shirt. The fatal attack took place in southeast London’s Woolrich area, only yards from the Royal Artillery Barracks. Following the brutal act, police arrived and ultimately shot and wounded the two suspects, described by eyewitnesses as two black men in their mid-20s.
Both suspects are currently hospitalized. A number of weapons were retrieved from the scene, including carving knives, a firearm, and a machete.
One eyewitness, identified only as James, told local media:
They were hacking at this poor guy, literally… They were hacking at him, chopping him, cutting him… They were hacking at him like a piece of meat. These two guys were crazy, they just were not there, they were just animals. They dragged the poor guy–he was obviously dead, there was no way a human could take what they did to him. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there.
Another eyewitness, identified only as Laura, believes the victim was targeted because of his pro-military “Help for Heroes” charity shirt, claiming the culprits even asked people to take pictures of them with the body of the dead young man.
Several other eyewitnesses corroborated that claim. Eyewitness James claimed the attackers were behaving almost as if they were waiting for police to arrive and to be shot by police.
Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted: “The killing in #Woolrich is truly shocking – I have asked the Home Secretary to chair a COBRA meeting.” London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, also tweeted: “This afternoon’s attack in Woolwich is a sickening deluded and unforgivable act of violence. My thoughts are with the victim and his family.”