LONDON — An American citizen was among those killed in a terror attack in a town in southern England on Saturday, the U.S. Ambassador has confirmed.
Three people were stabbed to death in a “terrorist incident” in the town of Reading on Saturday, police said.
The Philadelphia Inquirer named the victim as Philadelphia native Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, citing family members. NBC News could not immediately independently confirm the report.
“I offer my deepest condolences to the families of those killed in the attack on June 20. To our great sorrow, this includes an American citizen,” U.S. Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson tweeted.
“Our thoughts are with all those affected. We condemn the attack absolutely and have offered our assistance to British law enforcement.”
The attack took place at around 7 p.m. local time (2 p.m. ET) on Saturday in Forbury Gardens, a public park in Reading, a large town around 40 miles west of London, Thames Valley Police said in a statement shortly after the incident.
Three people were stabbed to death and three others were left seriously injured in the attack, according to police.
Eye-witness Lawrence Wort told Britain’s Press Association news agency that people were sitting on the grass when a man shouted something unintelligible and began attempting to stab people.
Shortly after the incident, a 25-year-old man from Reading was arrested on suspicion of murder, police said, adding that they were not looking for any other suspects. The man’s name was not released.
Another victim was identified as teacher James Furlong, according to a statement from The Holt School in Wokingham.
Thames Valley Police said initially said the incident was not being treated as terrorism. But that assessment was changed after they worked with Counter Terrorism Police.
Dennis Romero and Yuliya Talmazan contributed.