National

Cab driver's rampage kills at least 12 in U.K.

LONDON — A taxi driver fatally shot at least 12 people and injured 25 while driving from one village to another in Britain's coastal West Cumbria region, before apparently shooting himself, police said.

Authorities said the body of 52-year-old suspect Derrick Bird was found in a wooded area a few miles inland several hours after the shooting began in Whitehaven, but they did not describe any injuries. A shotgun was next to the body.

Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said late Wednesday that authorities were trying to determine whether the shootings were "a premeditated or a random attack." They were investigating 30 crime scenes and had recovered two guns, he said.

Kevin Clarkson, deputy chief executive of West Cumberland Hospital in Whitehaven, said three victims at West Cumberland were in critical condition and five others remained in serious condition. Others injured were taken to hospitals in Carlisle and Newcastle.

Local media reports described Bird, who lived in the village of Rowrah, as a self-employed taxi driver and a divorced father of two.

Michael Peugh, a taxi driver who told a local newspaper he knew Bird, reportedly said three of the shooting victims were also taxi drivers.

"I didn't think he was a bad man," Peugh told the News & Star newspaper. "I would never have thought he was capable of something like this."

The shootings apparently began around 10:30 a.m. after an argument at a taxi stand in Whitehaven in Britain's Lake District, a popular tourist area in northwest England, according to police and media reports. Bird reportedly is believed to have fatally shot at least one of his colleagues, also said to be a friend.

He drove off and zigzagged through several villages, stopping to shoot people on his way.

Police warned people to stay indoors and keep away from windows. The local nuclear power station of Sellafield was temporarily locked down.

  Comments