Two men 'shot by armed police after hacking soldier in Help for Heroes T-shirt to death with machetes in busy London street'
- Police treating the incident as a terror attack as Theresa May calls a meeting of the government's emergency committee Cobra
- Soldier 'murdered after a car crash' in Woolwich
- Eyewitness says: 'They were hacking at him, chopping him, cutting him'
- The two men were then reportedly shot dead by armed police
- Police gave only said they were called to an 'incident' in Woolwich
Two people were today believed to have been shot by armed police after hacking a man to death with a machete in front of dozens of eyewitnesses.
Police were tonight treating the incident as a terror attack and Home Secretary Theresa May had called a meeting of the government's emergency cabinet committee Cobra.
The soldier was attacked this knives and meat cleavers while he was wearing a Help for Heroes t-shirt in Woolwich, south-east London.
It is thought that the two men waited around for 20 minutes until police arrived and then tried to attack them - but were swiftly shot by armed officers.
Eyewitnesses said the 'crazed' men launched a ferocious attack and were 'hacking at him, chopping him, cutting him.'
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Scene: One man died at the scene here in John Wilson Street, south London this afternoon while two were seriously injured
Two men were rushed to hospital this afternoon while another man died after apparently being hacked to death in Woolwich
This afternoon the area’s MP, Nick Raynsford, told BBC Radio 5 Live he believed the victim of the attack was a serving soldier.
The man is believed to have been hacked to death after a car crash. The scene of the attack is just 200 yards from Woolwich Barracks.
Mr Raynsford said: 'The circumstances causing the incident are not yet clear. It's been suggested it was the product of a road traffic accident, but that's pure speculation.
'We think a serving soldier was the victim. We don't know the circumstances surrounding the incident.
'We do know a number of weapons have been seized. They include a gun, various knives, and a machete, apparently.
'The police clearly had to take action in order to try and arrest these individuals.'
The Independent Police Complaints Commission, which is called in whenever firearms officers shoot people, said it is investigating.
The Ministry of Defence said it was urgently looking at the reports that the incident involved a soldier but had no further comment.
Investigation: An air ambulance can be seen at the scene which is cordoned off after a soldier was hacked to death this afternoon
Probe: The incident is believed to have started after this car crashed. Fluid can be seen which has leaked from the car
Weapons: Forensic experts bag up evidence at the scene which is believed to include a number of weapons
A spokesman for the London Ambulance Service said one man had died at the scene.
He said: 'Our staff treated two others. Both men were taken to hospital, one of them is in a serious condition, the other is not.'
One witness, identified as James, said he and his partner saw two black men attack the young victim with knives, including a meat cleaver.
'They were hacking at this poor guy, literally,' he told LBC. 'They were hacking at him, chopping him, cutting him.'
Fighting back tears, James said the men treated their victim as a 'piece of meat' after he was dead.
'These two guys were crazed,' he told the radio station. 'They were just animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there.'
The incident occurred near the Royal Artillery Barracks, adjacent to Woolwich Common, the historical home of the Royal Artillery.
The barracks, also known as the Woolwich station, now houses a number of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery and independent companies of the Grenadier and Coldstream Guards.
Woolwich Common remains a designated military training area. The shooting events at the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics were held at a temporary venue at the Barracks.
Luke Huseyin, 32, who lives in a block of flats on John Wilson Street, Woolwich, close to where the incident happened said he watched two men murder a man before being shot.
Police cordon: The area in Woolwich has been sealed off as an investigation gets underway
'It was a blue Vauxhall. Then two black guys got out of the car dragging a white guy across the road towards the wall. One of the guys had a knife that looked about a foot long and a machete and the other bloke had a gun.
'They started slashing him up with the knife and hitting him in the stomach with the machete. I don't think it took long before he was dead. There were people passing by who were screaming and running away. I've never seen anything like it.
Probe: A white forensics tent is set up near the scene, close to where the car has crashed
Horror: A large crowd gathers at the scene in Woolwich as police and ambulance services arrive after a man was apparently stabbed to death
'It was strange, they didn't run off, they just stood there as if they were waiting for the police.
'It must've taken about 20 minutes for the police to arrive, I think it must've been because they were waiting for armed police.
'The police officers got out of the car and the two black men ran towards them with the gun.
'The police shot them. They fell to the ground. Then a helicopter landed. Think it must've been an air ambulance.
'The paramedics got out and I think they were working on the two men to try and keep them alive.
Probe: An air ambulance can be seen landing at the scene in Woolwich, south London, this afternoon. Two men were later rushed to hospital while a third man died
Evidence bags: Police forensic officers collect evidence from the scene in Woolwich, south London, this afternoon
Mother-of-four Julia Wilders, 51, said she was travelling past the scene and saw two men hacking at a man with meat cleavers.
'Graham was driving and we drove past the car which was up against a lamp post.
'There were two black guys that looked like they were trying to resuscitate a white guy on the floor. I thought there'd been an accident.
'But then I saw they were using meat cleavers to hack him up. We live just behind where it happened and once we got back we walked back to have a look and that's when I saw one of the black guys pull out a handgun.
'My husband screamed at me to get back. I was petrified. As I was running back I saw the police pull up and the black guy was running towards the police car and they shot him.
'I didn't see anything else, I just run back home.'
David Dixon is the headteacher of Mulgrave Primary School, which is located about 50 metres from the scene of the incident. He saw a body in the road after realising something was happening and immediately locked down the school.
He said: ‘It was at the end of our road. As soon as we realised it was serious I went to see what had happened and then told staff to lock down the school and get the children inside. I spoke to police to ask what we should do.
‘There seemed to be a body in the middle of the road. The traffic was backed up and the police were on the scene.
A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: 'Officers were called at 2.20pm to John Wilson Street in Woolwich. It was to what we believe was an initial report of an assault.'
Probe: Police confirm on Twitter that one of their helicopters has been sent to the area
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