At least five people have been killed and a suspect found dead after Britain’s worst mass shooting in over a decade took place in Plymouth, southwest England, police have said.
Officers and ambulance staff were called to respond to a “serious firearms incident” in Biddick Drive, in the Keyham area of Plymouth, around 6:10 p.m. local time Thursday.
Police named the shooter as 22-year-old Jake Davison on Friday. At a press conference, Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer described a shooting spree that spread across multiple locations in front of terrorized residents in the seaside city.
The mother of the gunman has been named as one of the victims, according to a Friday statement from police.
She has been identified by police as “Maxine Davison, also known as Maxine Chapman, aged 51 who was the mother of the offender.”
The youngest victim was Sophie Martyn, a 3-year-old who was killed alongside her 43-year-old father, Lee Martyn, according to police. Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66, have also been identified as victims.
All of the shooting’s victims lived locally in the Keyham area of Plymouth, according to the police statement. Police in the area are continuing to investigate 13 scenes within the cordon, it said.
Davison first visited an address on Biddick Drive in Keyham, where he killed a woman who was known to him, Constable Sawyer said.
He then left the house and entered Biddick Drive, shooting and killing a young girl, as well as a male relative of the child.
“This was a truly shocking event, and was witnessed by members of the public,” Sawyer said. Further along the road he shot two local residents, who are in hospital but do not have life-threatening injuries. Sawyer added that Davison then entered local parkland, killed another man and shot a woman who later died in hospital, before turning the gun on himself.
Sawyer said that eyewitnesses described the gun used as a pump-action shotgun. Police have recovered the weapon and are analyzing it, but are not yet describing the kind of gun used.
Mass shootings are exceedingly rare in the United Kingdom. A massacre at a Scottish school in 1996 prompted country’s government to tighten gun laws and ban most private gun ownership, and Thursday’s incident is the deadliest of its kind since 2010, when a shooting spree in Cumbria, northern England, claimed 12 lives.
People in Britain are allowed to apply for licenses to own a shotgun or sporting rifle. The suspected shooter was a licensed firearms holder, Sawyer said.
England’s police watchdog said it will investigate the decision-making of Devon and Cornwall police in relation to the gunman’s possession of a shotgun and shotgun certificate.
“The investigation follows a mandatory referral from the force which contains preliminary information that Mr Davison’s shotgun certificate and a shotgun were returned to him in early July this year,” said the Independent Office for Police Conduct in a statement released Friday.
Local police had previously taken the certificate and shotgun from Davison in December 2020 following assault allegations in September 2020, according to the IOPC.
“We will examine what police actions were taken and when, the rationale behind police decision-making, and whether relevant law, policy and procedures were followed concerning Mr Davison’s possession of a shotgun,” said IOPC regional director David Ford. “The investigation will also consider whether the force had any information concerning Mr Davison’s mental health and if so, if this information was appropriately considered.”
Police have not yet established a motive. YouTube confirmed to CNN that it has removed an account associated with the suspected shooter. “He is on social media, and that will be part of the investigation,” Sawyer said at the police press briefing.
Davison said he was “defeated by life” and went on hateful rants about women on a YouTube channel that has been taken down.
In video clips seen by CNN, Davison makes numerous derogatory remarks about women, calling them “very simple-minded” and shallow, ranting that most women are only motivated by money.
In another video, which was reposted online by The Telegraph newspaper, Davison referred to himself as “the terminator” and said he was “beaten down and defeated by life.”
“I’m so beaten down and defeated by life … that drive that I once had is gone. I try … but I’m at the point now where it’s like, why do I even bother,” he said on YouTube.
“The whole premise of the terminator movies is that everything is rigged against you,” he said in a video.
CNN has not confirmed when Davison filmed the clips. Luke Pollard, a member of parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport verified to CNN that the man in the videos posted on YouTube was Davison. The video clips match images of Davison from his Facebook page, which has also been removed.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his “thoughts are with the friends and family of those who lost their lives and with all those affected by the tragic incident in Plymouth last night.”
Pollard had earlier tweeted that more people are being treated in hospital for injuries, and that at least one of those killed was a child.
“Just so unspeakably awful. My condolences and thoughts are with the families,” Pollard added on Twitter. “I’m utterly devastated that one of the people killed in the #keyham shooting was a child under ten years old.”
Lawmaker Johnny Mercer added that the incident was “serious and tragic” and described Thursday as a “truly devastating day.”
Police appealed to the public to not “speculate or share pictures of the scene on social media or anywhere else.”
CNN’s Hannah Ritchie in London contributed reporting.