British gunman killed at least 12 in rampage: police

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A gunman killed at least 12 people after going on a rampage in a tourist area in northwest England on Wednesday, before apparently turning the gun on himself, police said.

"We can... confirm that from our current indications 12 people have lost their lives, plus Derrick Bird (the gunman)," said Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde of the local police at a press conference.

"At this stage we believe he took his own life," he added, saying emergency services "responded during very difficult challenging circumstances and we are currently attending somewhere in the region of 30 different crime scenes".

Hyde said that 25 people were receiving hospital treatment and three were in a critical condition.

"We are not able to understand at this stage the real motivation behind it or establish whether this was a premeditated or a random attack," he said, adding it was "probably the blackest day in our community's history".

Bird, a 52-year-old taxi driver, spent around three hours driving through the popular tourist area of the Lake District, reportedly shooting at people from his car window.

Police warned frightened local residents and tourists to stay indoors for their own protection while they tracked him down. What is thought to be his body was eventually found in woods, along with a gun, near the village of Boot.

© 2010 AFP

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