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June 22, 2020

Philadelphia native among 3 people killed in possible terror attack in England

Joe Ritchie-Bennett grew up in the Northeast and graduated from Father Judge High School. He had lived overseas for the past 15 years.

A Philadelphia native was one of three people stabbed and killed Saturday at a park in southern England. British officials are investigating the incident as a possible terrorist attack. 

Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, grew up in Northeast Philadelphia and graduated from Father Judge High School, CBS3 reported. He had lived in England for the past 15 years. "The family is heartbroken they have lost their brilliant and loving son," Robert Ritchie, the man's father, said to CBS3. "This was senseless." 

Inquirer on Sunday wrote that Ritchie-Bennett worked for a Dutch pharmaceutical company and was the younger brother of a Philadelphia police captain.

The attack occurred around 7 p.m. at Forbury Gardens Park in Reading, approximately 40 miles west of London. The suspect is a 25-year-old man who allegedly stabbed and killed Ritchie-Bennett along with two others, and he severely injured three people, according to Thames Valley PoliceMany people were outside enjoying the weather when "one lone person walked through, suddenly shouted some unintelligible words and went around a large group of around 10, trying to stab them," a witness, told BBC News.

Police arrested a suspect at the scene for suspicion of murder, but his identity has not be released. BBC News identified the person as a Libyan national who lived in the neighborhood where the incident occurred. 

British authorities turned over th investigation to the Counter Terrorism Policing South East unit on Sunday, and the suspect was re-arrested on terrorism charges. The person remains in custody and is believed to have acted alone, according to Head of Counter Terrorism Policing Neil Basu. The motive behind the attack is not clear at this time. There is no evidence the suspect has ties to terrorist groups, and there was nothing to suggest an ongoing terror attack. 

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