Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cameron: 'We May Never Understand' PM in Tribute to Survivors

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cameron: 'We May Never Understand' PM in Tribute to Survivors

Article excerpt

Byline: David Lucas

PRIME Minister David Cameron visited Cumbria yesterday and described local people coping with the aftermath of Derrick Bird's shooting rampage as "incredibly brave".

Mr Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May visited West Cumberland Hospital and then Workington police station to meet survivors and their families and pay tribute to staff who were working that day.

"Obviously, people here in west Cumbria have suffered the most appalling tragedy and it will have a huge impact on the community," he said.

"People - I have met some of them - are having to come to terms with the most appalling random acts that they will find very difficult to understand and in some cases there will be no proper explanation."

Mr Cameron, speaking from Workington police station, said it was too early to jump to conclusions as to what may have caused Bird to shoot 12 people dead before turning the gun on himself.

"What we don't know yet is all the facts in the case," he said.

"I've had a presentation from the police about what they know so far and there is more to be learned and more to be understood.

"There will be some parts of this that we will never understand. There were some random acts of killings and people who will have lost loved ones will ask why it happened to them and why so random; why it is so unfair and so cruel what's happened here. You will hear incredible tales of bravery. I met a woman at the hospital who lost her neighbours, incredibly brave. She wants to go home and start to rebuild her life.

"There are incredible stories of bravery here and an amazing community that has been torn by this but will eventually come through this like other communities have."

During Mr Cameron and Mrs May's private visit to the Whitehaven hospital - where five victims are being treated - they met some of Bird's victims.

Some of the 11 survivors suffered terrible facial injuries as the killer appeared to deliberately aim for their heads.

At Workington police station the Prime Minister and Home Secretary were briefed by senior officers, including Cumbria Chief Constable Craig Mackey, on developments in the wide-ranging investigation.

Mr Cameron then met some of those who were first on the scenes of the killings on Wednesday, including ambulance workers, police officers, firefighters and mountain rescue teams.

Two of the armed officers, who were among the first to arrive in Whitehaven after Darren Rewcastle was shot dead, told the Prime Minister how they had tried to follow Bird as he sped across the Cumbria countryside, shooting people at random.

One of the officers said: "It was so fast. It was unbelievable. We were no more than 36 minutes behind him.

"We kept coming across where he had been. There were just too many roads and too many options to go down. …

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