One man has died and two other people are seriously injured following a “random” series of stabbings in Birmingham city centre.
Five others were also injured in what West Midlands Police have described as a “major incident” overnight – and a murder investigation has been launched.
One unknown male suspect is being sought but no arrests have been made, Chief Superintendent Steve Graham told a news conference on Sunday, adding that the public should remain “alert”.
There is no suggestion of terrorism, gang involvement, or that the stabbings were a hate crime, he said, describing it as a “random attack with no clear motive”.
Officers and ambulance crews were called to reports of a stabbing in the city centre at 12:30am on Sunday, and a “number of other stabbings were reported in the area shortly after”.
“We believe the incidents, which took place between 12.30am and 2.20am, are linked and we’re doing all we can to find whoever was responsible,” Mr Graham said.
Eyewitnesses reported as many as eight people were injured during what police have since described as a “linked series” of incidents, although .
Police confirmed early on Sunday morning that a “major incident” had been declared, but work was still ongoing to determine how many people had been injured.
The force later said ahead of the 11am news conference: “We can now confirm that we have launched a murder investigation following last night’s events.
“A man has died and another man and a woman have suffered serious injuries. Five others have also been injured.”
Police are currently not releasing a description of the suspect but @WMPolice are asking for CCTV and any footage from the public in Birmingham last night
— Lisa Dowd Sky News (@LisaSkyNews) September 6, 2020
Emergency service personnel – including armed police – have remained on the scene throughout the morning, with forensic tents having been erected in several streets and road closures in place.
One small blue forensic tent was seen in Barwick Street and two other tents were put up in Irving Street, close to the gates of a primary school.
Several yellow police evidence markers could also be seen on the ground, some near to broken glass.
Police have urged people to remain calm and stay away from the area, and have warned that the response would be ongoing “for some time”.
Arcadian is a hub of restaurants, bars, cafes, clubs and hotels – located around five minutes’ walk from Birmingham New Street station, close to the city’s Chinese Quarter and Gay Village areas.
Most of Hurst Street, which runs past the Arcadian, was taped off on Sunday morning, in an area which had already been closed off to traffic to aid social distancing.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said anyone close to the area should be “very vigilant”.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday, Mr Raab said: “My thoughts are with the victims and their families, there is obviously an ongoing police investigation.
“I can’t say too much more at this stage, but people should be very vigilant if they are in that area.”