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Gunman kills 5, wounds 25 in northwest England

 

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A taxi driver described as quiet but friendly went on a shooting spree across a picturesque rural area of northwestern England today, killing at least five people and wounding 25 others before apparently turning the gun on himself, officials said.

The rampage, in a region famed for its tranquil beauty, shocked a country where handguns are banned and multiple shoot ings rare — i t was Britain's deadliest mass shooting since 1996.

Officers found a body believed to be that of 52-year-old suspect Derrick Bird in woods near the Lake District village of Boot, Cumbria police said. A gun was found alongside the body.

"I regret to report that a number of people have been shot and that at least five people have died," Prime Minister David Cameron told lawmakers in the House of Commons. "I can confirm that a body of a gunman has been found by police."

Police said that as well as the deaths, 25 people were wounded in shootings in the small town of Whitehaven and nearby Seascale and Egremont, about 350 miles (560 kilometers) northwest of London.

The BBC reported there had been shootings in 11 locations, not all of them fatal. Witnesses described seeing the gunman driving around shooting out the window of his car.

His vict ims included a woman on a bicycle, a farmer in his field and at least two fellow taxi drivers.

Barrie Walker, a doctor in Seascale who certified one of the deaths, told the BBC that victims had been shot in the face, apparently with a shotgun.

Witness Alan Hannah told the Whitehaven News that he saw a man with a shotgun in a car near a taxi stand in Whitehaven. Photos showed a body, covered in a sheet, lying in a street in the town.

Deadly shootings are rare in Britain, where gun ownership is tightly restricted and handguns are banned.

 
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