Cumbria shootings: Police statement

POLICE investigating the day of violence which saw gunman Derrick Bird kill 12 people and injure a further 25 before turning the gun on himself had "shocked the people of Cumbria to the core".

Police patrol streets near the scene of today's shooting in Whitehaven.

Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde today said: "This has shocked the people of Cumbria and around the country to the core.

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"Derrick Bird has been located near Boot at 1.40pm today and we believe he took his own life."

Mr Hyde said two weapons had been recovered and 30 crime scenes were being attended.

He went on: "Our condolences go out to families and friends of those affected by the horrific incidents that unfolded today.

"These are local people and local police who knew the people killed and injured today.

"It's been a truly exceptional and challenging incident that Cumbria Police has had to deal with today."

He added: "This has shocked the people of Cumbria and the country to the core."

Mr Hyde went on: "We are at a very early stage of the investigation.

"We're not really able to understand at this stage the motivation behind it or whether this was premeditated or random."

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He added: "Our focus is to gather enough evidence to build up a clear picture of exactly what has occurred."

Mr Hyde said they would look into Bird's background.

He said: "We will look into Mr Bird's history, his access to firearms and his motivation for the shootings.

"It would be wrong to speculate at this stage the circumstances of this tragedy, and the gravity of it dictates that we have a full and comprehensive investigation and try to understand why someone would want to take so many lives in such a short space of time."

He said: "While this was a terrifying and horrific incident it is by its nature very unusual, both locally, regionally and nationally.

"Cumbria prides itself on being a safe place to work, play and to enjoy life. It's a tightly knit community covering some of the most beautiful countryside in the land."

Mr Hyde added: "It will take us some time to identify the victims. I wouldn't give a guess to his motivation. At this stage we've recovered 12 bodies plus Mr Bird and are continuing to search.

"We've got a lot of evidence to recover. The 25 injured are in a range of conditions.

"There were two weapons, we've recovered both of them. We're going to conduct a full investigation."

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