Thursday, December 14

Whitehaven Shooting: Thirteen People Dead And Twenty Five Injured

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Two-and-a-half days on from the horrific event in Whitehaven, Cumbria are there any answers to the questions everyone has been asking and how are people coming to terms with the incident?

There are plenty theories as to why gunman Derrick Bird went on a rampage throughout Copeland but the authorities are still no clearer as to why this occurred. Only two days ago Whitehaven was a peaceful harbour town enjoying a glorious summer’s day.

Twenty five people were injured and thirteen people killed in a random act no-one can understand or comprehend. Questions being asked include: was it a family feud? Could it have been a simmering resentment of colleagues or did the killer have money problems? Rumours speak of Derrick Bird having been deeply in debt to the tax man. Others talk of a family feud over a will.

Although locals are now wondering when journalists will leave them in peace, the sheer bewilderment as to why anyone could commit such an act of carnage, keeps reporters in the area looking for answers. Most of the media focus is on Whitehaven but there are many communities affected by the sheer randomness of his actions. Three people, for instance, were shot in the village of Seascale including a woman delivering catalogues and a man riding his bike.

At Wilton, ten miles from where the killings began, soon after 10 am on Wednesday villagers were going about their everyday lives when Derrick Bird’s taxi arrived. A woman was shot as the taxi passed her; she had been walking up the hill to find her husband Jimmy who had been exercising after a recent hip operation. Her husband was killed as well. Further up the road, the killer turned his gun onto two other neighbours.

Chief Constable of Cumbria Police Stuart Hyde described thirty separate crime scenes. The Queen, it has been reported, is ‘deeply shocked’ by the shootings and shares the nation’s grief and horror. Today, Prime Minister David Cameron and the Home Secretary visited the county to offer reassurance to people who are devastated by this event. The Prime Minister’s first stop was the West Cumberland hospital where most of the staff knew people who have been touched by this tragedy. He spoke to victims before going on to Workington Police Station.

People of Cumbria have yet to come to terms with these appalling, random acts that are impossible to understand. Many are still in a deep state of shock; some feeling they have had a lucky escape. Whereas immediately after the incident people shared gossip and told their stories, now they are emotionally drained. Many are experiencing flashbacks and the mood is more sombre. Churches are being kept open to give locals a place of quiet and a bit of space and a number of special services have been arranged across Copeland for the chance for people to come together.

A sense of shock still remains but Cumbrians have an enormously resilient spirit as has been demonstrated after recent hardships already faced, these killings coming so soon after the horrific bus crash in Keswick and the awful floods.

It has been decided, after a great deal of thought by the common-sense and resilient Borough, that the annual Whitehaven festival will go ahead in a few weeks time. This is not forgetting the tragedies that have been but giving locals something to look forward to.

As to why? No-one can say. And because there are still so many questions without answers it is unlikely the journalists will go home soon. People from around the world whose thoughts are with the innocent victims and their families, and all those who have been touched by these tragic events, will be looking to journalists to supply them with explanations as they are discovered.


Cumbrian Constablulary

BBC News

Whitehaven News

News and Star


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