Palace sus­pect drove at po­lice, then reached for 4-foot sword

In­ci­dent out­side queen’s res­i­dence in Lon­don leaves 3 of­fi­cers in­jured

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - WORLD - By Sylvia Hui

LON­DON — Bri­tish coun­tert­er­ror­ism po­lice on Satur­day were in­ves­ti­gat­ing a man who was de­tained af­ter he drove a car at po­lice out­side Buck­ing­ham Palace then “reached for a 4-foot sword,” in­jur­ing three po­lice of­fi­cers.

The Metropoli­tan Po­lice force said of­fi­cers stopped a 26-year-old man who de­lib­er­ately drove at a po­lice van Fri­day night near Queen El­iz­a­beth II’s Lon­don res­i­dence, one of the city’s top tourist at­trac­tions.

“Uni­formed of­fi­cers then con­fronted the driver of the ve­hi­cle, and dur­ing that con­fronta­tion the driver reached for a 4-foot sword” in the car, said Dean Hay­don, com­man­der of the Metropoli­tan Po­lice coun­tert­er­ror­ism branch.

The sus­pect re­peat­edly shouted “Al­lahu ak­bar!” (“God is great” in Ara­bic), Hay­don said. Three Lon­don po­lice of­fi­cers were slightly in­jured while strug­gling to ar­rest him, he added.

Po­lice be­lieved the sus­pect was act­ing alone and were not look­ing for other sus­pects Satur­day. Coun­tert­er­ror of­fi­cers were car­ry­ing out searches in Lu­ton, north of Lon­don, where the sus­pect was from.

Kiana Wil­liamson said she saw of­fi­cers try­ing to wres­tle a man out of a car that had stopped near the palace. In less than a minute, “the man had been re­strained and looked al­most un­con­scious by the side of the road,” Wil­liamson said.

The sus­pect was taken to the hospi­tal for mi­nor in­juries and re­mained in cus­tody in a Lon­don po­lice sta­tion. No one other than him and the po­lice of­fi­cers was in­jured.

Bri­tish me­dia re­ported that no mem­bers of the royal fam­ily were in Buck­ing­ham Palace at the time.

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May and Lon­don Mayor Sadiq Khan thanked po­lice for act­ing quickly to pro­tect the pub­lic.

The po­lice pres­ence in Lon­don was stepped up be­cause of the long Bank Hol­i­day weekend and the an­nual Not­ting Hill Car­ni­val, a busy street fes­ti­val that at­tracts huge crowds.

Buck­ing­ham Palace did not com­ment on the in­ci­dent and tours of parts of the palace that are open to the pub­lic in the sum­mer were un­af­fected Satur­day.

Last year, a man con­victed of mur­der climbed a palace wall and was de­tained on the palace grounds while the queen was at home.

Chris J. Rat­cliffe / AFP / Getty Im­ages

Po­lice of­fi­cers stand guard next to Buck­ing­ham Palace fol­low­ing an in­ci­dent Satur­day in which a man armed with a sword was ar­rested out­side the palace fol­low­ing a dis­tur­bance. Scot­land Yard said two of­fi­cers suf­fered mi­nor in­juries.

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