Labour Member of Parliament Jo Cox is dead at age 41 after being shot in an attack earlier today. Reacting to the attack, Prime Minister David Cameron called Cox’s death a “tragedy,” according to Reuters.
A 52-year-old male suspect in the attack has been arrested, although the motivation for the attack remains unclear. The identity of the man arrested in relation to the attack has not been released. Campaigners on both sides of the major upcoming Brexit referendum, which will determine Britain’s status with regards to the European Union, have suspended their campaigns following the attack on MP Cox.
Prior to the attack, Cox was actively campaigning for the Labour Party against the Brexit referendum, favoring Britain staying in the EU. CBC News explains that the attacker reportedly shouted “Britain first!” as he shot MP Cox. Investigators have said that the attack on Cox is most likely a lone incident.
The attack occurred around 1 p.m. local time, and Cox was declared dead about an hour later. Cox was shot outside of a library in Birstall, a town in England near Manchester. Cox had been the Member of Parliament representing Birstall. The BBC interviewed several eyewitnesses to the attack on MP Cox.
“Cafe owner Clarke Rothwell, who witnessed the attack, said he heard a ‘loud popping noise that sounded like a balloon burst — a loud balloon.’
” ‘When I looked round there’s a man stood there in his 50s with a white baseball cap on and a jacket with a gun, an old fashioned looking gun in his hand,’ he said…
“Eyewitness Hithem Ben Abdallah, said the mother of two was left lying and bleeding on the pavement after the incident.
“Mr. Abdallah, 56, was in a cafe next door to the library shortly after 13:00 BST when he heard screaming and went outside.”
Other witnesses to the attack saw the attacker lean in after the initial shot, shooting once more at MP Cox’s head.
Colleagues and contemporaries of MP Cox have been quick to issue public statements denouncing the attack and offering their condolences. Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour Party, tweeted a statement on behalf of Cox’s party.
The whole of the Labour family, and indeed the whole country, is in shock and grief at the horrific murder of Jo Cox pic.twitter.com/obic5pOCS3
— Jeremy Corbyn MP (@jeremycorbyn) June 16, 2016
MP Cox’s husband, Brendan Cox, also issued a heartfelt statement following the attack and subsequent death of his wife and the mother of his children.
— Press Association (@PA) June 16, 2016
Cox’s own Twitter account describes her as “Mum. Proud Yorkshire Lass. Labour MP for Batley & Spen. Boat dweller. Mountain climber. Former aid worker.”
According to her website, Jo Cox had once worked for the European Union in Brussels. Cox also worked for global charities seeking to end modern slavery. Of her more recent life and work, the website states the following.
“She was nominated in 2009 by the Davos World Economic Forum as a young global leader, and in 2012 received the DEVEX award for her contribution to international development.
“Jo is married and has two young children. She divides her time between her home on a boat on the River Thames and her home in Batley & Spen.
“Among Jo’s parliamentary interests are foreign policy, international development, early years education and social isolation. She is also taking a keen interest in the northern economy and regional devolution and is a member of the Communities and Local Government select committee.
“Jo is co-chair of the Friends of Syria All Party Parliamentary Group and is an active member of parliamentary groups working on Palestine, devolution, Pakistan, Kashmir and Yorkshire’s regional economy.
“In what spare time she has Jo enjoys climbing Scottish munros, running and cycling.”
[Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]