Six people including a police officer and two teenagers were seriously injured, and the alleged perpetrator shot dead police, after multiple stabbings at a hotel in central Glasgow.
Police Scotland said David Whyte, a 42-year-old constable, was in a “critical but stable condition” in hospital with five other men – aged 17, 18, 20, 38 and 53 – seriously injured, after a lone man went on the attack shortly before 1pm at the Park Inn hotel on West George Street.
Armed officers arrived at the scene and shot the male suspect dead. The incident is thought to have taken place in the hotel’s reception area, with a receptionist thought to be among the victims, and in a stairwell. The hotel had been housing around 80 asylum seekers during the coronavirus pandemic.
Surrounding streets were sealed off as ambulances and police vehicles converged on the building shortly at around 12.50pm on Friday. Witness footage on social media showed armed officers entering a property next to the hotel as members of the public exited with their arms raised. The alleged assailant is believed to have been an asylum seeker, according to Whitehall and police sources.
The Guardian understands counter-terrorism police in London were alerted and monitored the situation, but in a statement issued later on Friday, Police Scotland said: “The incident in West George Street, Glasgow is not being treated as terrorism. The investigation is continuing.”
Witnesses described harrowing scenes in the hotel. One man who saw the aftermath of the attack, but asked not to be named, described seeing two people lying in the reception area of the hotel suffering from stab wounds in the abdominal area. “One of them was fighting for his life, gasping for breath,” he said.
He described being alerted to the incident when he heard calls for help from the ground floor. He said that one of those injured was a Scottish man in his 30s who was working at the reception.
Craig Milroy, who saw the aftermath from an office building near, said he had seen four people taken away in ambulances. He told PA Media: “I saw a man lying on the ground, of African descent, with no shoes on. He was on the ground with someone holding his side – I don’t know if it was a bullet wound, a stab wound, or what it was.”
Milroy said the man was one of the four taken away medics and believed him to be a victim of an attack. He added: “After that we saw commotion, ambulances further up and we saw armed police all running into the hotel next to the Society Room.”
Another witness told LBC radio that he saw a man enter the reception area and stab two people. “I was a resident on the third floor in Park Inn,” the witness said. “I’m staying with my mum there. I heard noises, loud noises; woman screaming and man screaming for help, but I couldn’t see from my window what’s going on. But I could see people standing there and looking towards the hotel,” he said.
As the incident unfolded, senior police sources said that three people had been fatally stabbed, citing information from the ambulance service and circulating within police channels.
At 3.25pm, Steve Johnson, an assistant chief constable with Police Scotland, said there was one death, that of the alleged assailant, and confirmed police were not looking for any other suspects.
“The individual who was shot armed police has died,” he said. “Six other people are in hospital for treatment to their injuries including a police officer, who is in a critical but stable condition.”
On Friday night, Iain Livingstone, the chief constable of Police Scotland, paid tribute to Whyte. “My thoughts and very best wishes are with those who have been injured and their families, including our colleague constable David Whyte who was seriously injured in the course of doing his duty. I offer my personal support to all those affected. Officers have once again run into danger to protect their fellow citizens. Their professionalism as police officers was outstanding. I pay tribute to their bravery, selflessness and commitment to protecting the public.”
He urged people to show community cohesion after the attack and warned against “speculation” until the full circumstances are known.
Boris Johnson, the prime minister, and Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, joined other political leaders including the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in saying their thoughts were with the victims and their families.
Sturgeon said: “First and foremost my thoughts are with all those people who have been caught up in this terrible incident, particularly the six injured people taken to hospital for treatment, as well as residents and staff at the hotel.
“I also want to thank all of those police officers whose quick and decisive actions contained the incident – one of whom was among those taken to hospital – as well as the work of the other emergency services. The justice secretary and I have been kept informed through the afternoon and briefed the chief constable.
“While such a serious incident is rare in Scotland, it is another reminder of the courage and professionalism of our police officers who are willing to run towards danger in order to protect the lives of others.”
Humza Yousaf, the Scottish justice secretary, tweeted: “Hoping & praying that they all recover. Thoughts continue to be with all those affected.”
Johnson said he was “deeply saddened the terrible incident in Glasgow, my thoughts are with all the victims and their families. Thank you to our brave emergency services who are responding.” Khan, whose city has seen a series of fatal knife attacks recently, said: “Reports from today’s incident in Glasgow are truly awful. My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones at this difficult time.”