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The fatal stabbing of UK lawmaker David Ames was declared a terror incident by authorities, who said the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command is now leading the investigation.
The conservative lawmaker was stabbed multiple times Friday at one of his bimonthly meetings with constituents, which was being held at Belfairs Methodist Church. Amess had been an MP for 38 years.
"He was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene," Essex police said in a statement.
Early Saturday morning, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Dean Haydon, senior national coordinator for counter terrorism policing, declared the attack an act of terrorism and said in a statement that investigators had linked a possible motive to Islamist extremism.
Police added that a 25-year-old man had been arrested on suspicion of murder. The man is being held in custody and police are not looking for anyone else.
Investigators are also searching two locations in London as part of their investigation
This attack comes five years after MP Jo Cox was fatally shot and stabbed in northern England. Her husband, Brendan Cox, tweeted his condolences and said the attack brings everything back for him.
"The pain, the loss, but also how much love the public gave us following the loss of Jo. I hope we can do the same for David now," Cox tweeted.
My thoughts and love are with David’s family. They are all that matter now. This brings everything back. The pain, the loss, but also how much love the public gave us following the loss of Jo. I hope we can do the same for David now.
Amess was 69 years old and leaves behind a wife and five children. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2015 for his political and public service.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson paid tribute to Amess, calling him "one of the kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics.""He also had an outstanding record of passing laws to help the most vulnerable," Johnson said. "Whether the people who are suffering from endometriosis, passing laws to end cruelty to animals or doing a huge amount to reduce the fuel poverty suffered by people up and down the country."We’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much loved friend and colleague our thoughts today are very much with his wife and his children and his family."
Carrie Johnson, the wife of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, shared her condolences for Amess.
Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess. He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children.
With union flags being lowered to half-mast above Downing Street in honor of Amess, tributes from ministers have started pouring in.
We are shocked and saddened by the murder of Sir David Amess, who dedicated 40 years of his life to serving his community.Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and colleagues. W & C
David Amess’s passing is heart-breakingly sad. Just terrible, terrible news. He was a good and gentle man, he showed charity and compassion to all, hIs every word and act were marked by kindness. My heart goes out to his family
So so sad about Sir David Amess. He embodied Essex man. Kind, thoughtful funny, compassionate and generous spirited. May he rest in peace.
Just devastating news. David Amess was one of the kindest, friendliest people you could meet. Completely dedicated to serving his constituency, involved in so many causes & important work on animal welfare. But above all, just kind and keen to help others. We will all miss him
Devastated to hear the terrible news about Sir David Amess MP. He was a lovely, lovely man and a superb parliamentarian. My thoughts are with all his family and friends.