Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

What Was the Spark? REPORTS OF FAMILY FEUD AS POLICE LOOK: AT CUMBRIAN GUNMAN'S MOVEMENTS ON DAY OF CARNAGE

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

What Was the Spark? REPORTS OF FAMILY FEUD AS POLICE LOOK: AT CUMBRIAN GUNMAN'S MOVEMENTS ON DAY OF CARNAGE

Article excerpt

POLICE were today investigating what sparked gunman Derrick Bird's killing spree amid reports he was involved in a bitter family feud.

The taxi driver yesterday ran amok in Cumbria killing 12 people, including colleagues and random passers-by.

It is believed his first victim was twin brother David and reports suggest the pair were locked in a row over a will.

Police also confirmed that family solicitor Kevin Commons is among the dead. A business associate of Mr Commons, David Whyte, said he expected a statement from his law firm today. The massacre began yesterday morning with the first reports of gunshots in Whitehaven at 10.30am outside a taxi rank.

Bird produced two guns - believed to be a .22 rifle with telescopic sight and a shotgun - and shot fellow taxi drivers in Duke Street, killing Darren Rewcastle.

One driver, who refused to be named, said: "All of the taxi drivers were friends. But I heard there was an argument on the taxi rank."

Bird, who had reportedly just become a grandfather, then drove through the picturesque county firing shots at anyone in his path.

As he drove his taxi - windscreen smashed and guns aimed from the driver's seat - police launched a frantic three-hour manhunt.

It ended with the discovery of his body 20 miles away in woods near the hamlet of Boot. He had taken his own life.

As well as the 12 dead, 11 others were injured. Three remain in a "critical" condition in hospital and another five were said to be "serious".

Last night the Queen said she was "deeply shocked" by the shootings and shared the nation's "grief and horror".

Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said there were 30 separate crime scenes and described it as the "most exceptional, challenging incident" the county had faced in a long time. The force has launched a "full and thorough" investigation looking at Bird's history, access to guns and motives for the shootings, he added. …

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