Fri, Jan 04, 2019 - Page 6 News List

‘Instinct took over’ in attack: officer

AP, LONDON

Armed police guard Manchester Victoria Station in England on Tuesday.

Photo: EPA-EFE

A British police officer who was on New Year’s Eve stabbed while subduing a suspect on Wednesday said that “instinct took over” when he heard people screaming at a train station in Manchester, England.

British Transport Police Sergeant Lee Valentine and several officers managed to bring down the knife-wielding suspect with a stun gun and pepper spray after he stabbed two people.

“We had no idea what we were running towards when we heard the screams on New Year’s Eve,” said Valentine, who is recovering at home from a stab wound to his shoulder. “When we saw the man wielding a knife, instinct took over.”

Greater Manchester Police officials said that they were confident that the suspect “acted alone in the final stages” of what police are treating as a terrorist act.

They are still trying to determine if he had any support while planning the assault.

The 25-year-old suspect has been detained under Britain’s Mental Health Act, which means he is being assessed by mental health professionals and could be placed in a psychiatric hospital for treatment, police said.

The suspect, who has not been named or charged, was shouting Muslim extremist slogans when he attacked two people at Manchester Victoria Station.

The train station is next to Manchester Arena, site of a May 2017 suicide bombing that killed 22 people at a pop music concert.

Members of the suspect’s family on Wednesday released a statement saying that they were “eternally grateful” for the swift response by emergency personnel, and their “thoughts and prayers” were with the victims.

The suspect “is being treated by specialist medical staff,” the family said.

“It is important that the police investigation takes its course, and any reports and articles avoid any assumptions, speculations and generalizations,” the statement said.

The two victims — a man and a woman — were still hospitalized with serious injuries.

The man is making “good progress” and should be released in the coming days, while the woman is also making progress, but is expected to be hospitalized longer, police said.

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