Streatham attacker Sudesh Amman grabbed a knife from a High Road shop then ran out, tore off its packaging and started stabbing victims in a few seconds, police have said.
He had been out of prison for terrorism offences for just seven days.
He was plunging his knife into the passers-by within 60 seconds of going into the shop, says an initial report from the Met.
And he had been shot dead within another 60 seconds, their timeline states.
The two victims were wounded at about 2pm on Sunday by Amman, who was under investigation by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.
Armed officers, who were part of a proactive counter-terrorism surveillance operation relating to the attacker, were following the 20-year-old as he left an address in the Streatham area at shortly after 1.20pm, officers say – they have not confirmed whether it was his bail hostel in Leigham Court Road.
He then made his way on foot and was observed entering a shop on Streatham High Road shortly before 2pm.
From initial witness statements, he stole a knife and ran from the shop as he was pursued by a member of staff, the Met says.
As he ran from the shop, he removed packaging from the knife, and once outside attacked two members of the public.
The Met statement says: “The time from him entering the shop to beginning his attack outside was approximately 60 seconds. Police officers responded, fatally shooting him within approximately 60 seconds of him beginning to attack people.”
The officers saw that a device was strapped to his body and called in specialist explosives officers and additional armed officers to deal with the potential threat the device posed.
Cordons were put in place and it was quickly established that this was a hoax device, says the Met.
The device had been concealed under his clothes.
Initial first aid was provided to victims by officers. Paramedics were only allowed to carry out their treatment once they were able to do so safely. Three people were taken by ambulance to South London hospitals.
One man, who is in his 40s, was initially considered to be in a life-threatening condition – though police have since said he is no longer fighting for his life. He is in a serious but stable condition.
One woman in her 50s had non-life threatening injuries and has been discharged from hospital.
Another woman in her 20s had minor injuries, believed to have been caused by glass which shattered when it was hit by one of the police bullets. She has also been discharged from hospital.
The Met statement said: “Our thoughts continue to be with the victims and their families.”
The Met has also confirmed Amman had been recently released from prison where he had been serving a sentence for terrorism offences.
Met Counter Terrorism Command detectives, assisted by the Met Police Specialist Firearms Command, arrested him – then aged 18 – on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts on May 18 2018 at 12.10am. He was arrested on a street in north London, within 24 hours of police launching an investigation into his activities.
Further quick-time investigation was carried out and digital forensic specialists analysed his mobile phone, laptop and other digital devices, recovering a plethora of terrorist material.
He pleaded guilty on November 7 2018 to 13 offences of dissemination of terrorist material; and of collection of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism
The judge ordered that the remaining three counts lie on file. He was sentenced to three years and four months’ imprisonment on December 18 2018. He was released on January 23 this year.
An operation was launched which included armed surveillance officers. The Met says revealing details of this surveillance operation could undermine police tactics used to investigate terrorists and other criminals across the UK. The Met said: “It is right that we do not expand on this further at this time.
“We are confident that this is an isolated incident that has been contained.
“Detectives from the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command continue to carry out fast-time enquiries into the circumstances of the attack. We have identified around 50 witnesses from whom we are gathering statements, and we have recovered and are trawling hours of CCTV footage.”
A search warrant was carried out at an address in Bishop Stortford and another address in Streatham – thought to be his bail hostel – is still being searched. No arrests have been made.
The Met added: “We are also liaising and co-operating with the Independent Office for Police Conduct as they conduct their necessary inquiries.
“We would like to thank the numerous members of the public who assisted officers and ambulance staff following what was a very difficult incident, and for the ongoing patience of the community while police enquiries continue in the area.”
Anyone with information that could assist with the investigation can call police, in confidence, on 0800 789 321. In an emergency call 999. Cops are also asking the public to continue to remain vigilant and report any concerns they have to police.
The Met is asking anyone with information, images or footage of the incident that this be shared with the investigation team. Image and video can be shared via the UK Police Image appeal website at www.ukpoliceimageappeal.com.
Those affected by the incident – even if they were not at the scene of it – are encouraged to seek support. Details of a range of emotional and practical support services are available at www.gov.uk/government/
The Met said: “We continue to reiterate our earlier pleas for common sense and restraint in circulating pictures and videos of this incident – including images of the officers involved and of the victims.”
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