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British Parliament Member Jo Cox Killed In Birstall, England


We're going to turn now to the shocking and rare incidence of gun violence that happened today in Britain. Forty-one-year-old member of the British Parliament was attacked during an event in the library and later pronounced dead in the hospital. Her name was Jo Cox.

Police have a suspect in custody, but they've refused to speculate on a motive for the attack. NPR's Peter Kenyon has more on the murder of a woman described as a rising star in British politics.

PETER KENYON, BYLINE: Jo Cox was born and raised in Yorkshire and had left her career with the aid group Oxfam to go into politics. She'd only just won her seat last year, joining the opposition Labour Party in Parliament. She died doing the most retail of political duties - meeting with constituents in the West Yorkshire village of Birstall. Police deputy chief Constable Dee Collins says Cox was attacked by a gunman who inflicted mortal wounds. She said a suspect is in custody.


DEE COLLINS: Weapons including a firearm have also been recovered. At 1:48 p.m., Jo Cox was pronounced deceased by a doctor who was working with a paramedic crew that were attending to her serious injuries.

KENYON: Local sources identified the suspect as Tommy Mair. The police say only that he's 52-years-old and are not offering any motive for the killing. Police teams searched his residence looking for clues to the reason for the attack.

Prime Minister David Cameron led the tributes to Cox, praising her work on behalf of Syrian refugees and other victims of violence.


DAVID CAMERON: She had a huge heart. She was a very compassionate campaigning MP. She was a bright star, no doubt about it - a star for her constituents, a star in Parliament. But above all I'm thinking of her husband Brendan, the children, the family and her constituents who will be feeling this huge sense of loss tonight.

KENYON: Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke of Cox as someone who never stopped fighting for the rights of those most in need.


JEREMY CORBYN: She worked for anti-slavery campaigns. She worked for Oxfam, and she became an MP for the area where she was born and grew up and left. In Parliament, she was respected across the whole House as somebody with a deep commitment, a deep passion for human rights and justice.

KENYON: Perhaps the most eloquent statement came from her husband Brendan Cox, who said his wife would've wanted two things - that her two children, quote, "be bathed in love and that everyone unite against the hatred that killed her." Brendan Cox added, quote, "Jo would've had no regrets. She lived every day of her life to the full."

The last time a sitting member of Parliament was murdered was 1990, when MP Ian Gow was killed by an Irish Republican Army car bomb. News of Cox's killing swept aside the raging political debate over next week's referendum on quitting the European Union. Both sides announced that all political events were being suspended. Peter Kenyon, NPR News, London. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Peter Kenyon is NPR's international correspondent based in Istanbul, Turkey.