A 20-year-old man freed from prison a week ago after serving half his sentence for terrorism offenses was shot dead by police in London on Sunday after he stabbed several people while wearing a “hoax” suicide vest.
Sudesh Amman pleaded guilty in 2018 to possessing and distributing terrorist information. The BBC reported that when he was released, authorities were concerned enough that they had him under surveillance.
At 2 p.m. on Sunday, on Streatham High Road in South London, Amman stabbed two people before police swooped in and shot him.
Several people described seeing a man with a large knife randomly stabbing people inside a local shop before hearing at least three shots fired by armed police. Many witnesses told local media that the police were in an unmarked car.
Emma Taylor, 31, from Streatham Hill, told The Sun newspaper she was walking after brunch with friends when she saw a woman from the local hardware store screaming.
“As we approached her she was in serious distress and she shouted, ‘He’s just grabbed a knife from my shop and stabbed a lady!’,” Taylor said. “She stopped us from going any further and that's when we saw the woman, just five meters in front us, being attended to by paramedics.”
Several witnesses at the scene told Britain’s Sky News that the man was wearing gray pants, black shoes and what appeared to be a suicide vest. Police later said that appeared to be a “hoax” device, according to the AP.
Gulled Bulhan, a 19-year-old student from Streatham, told the BBC, “I was crossing the road when I saw a man with a machete and silver canisters on his chest being chased by what I assume was an undercover police officer,” he said.“The man was then shot. I think I heard three gun shots.”
Another witness, Luke Woodward, who says he lives across from the crime scene, described to The Mirror how he heard a loud bang, followed by shouting and more shots. He then looked out his window to see a man staggering up the street before collapsing. “There was a lot of blood where he had originally been standing,” Woodward said. He also told the paper that he could see a second man lying further way on the pavement and police pointing their guns at him.
London’s Metropolitan Police said two people were stabbed and a third person was injured in the chaos; none of the injuries was life-threatening.
Amman was a teenager when he was convicted, but investigators were worried about the depth of his devotion to ISIS.
“His fascination with dying in the name of terrorism was clear in a notepad we recovered,” Alexis Boon, a top police official said in 2018.
“Amman had scrawled his ‘life goals’ in the notepad and top of the list, above family activities, was dying a martyr and going to ‘Jannah’—the afterlife.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he planned to announce “further plans for fundamental changes to the system for dealing with those convicted of terrorism offenses” as a result of Sunday’s violence.