British lawmaker Sir David Amess was fatally stabbed on Friday during a meeting with constituents at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London.
Amess “was treated by emergency services but, sadly, died at the scene,” Essex police said in a statement. “A 25-year-old man was quickly arrested after officers arrived at the scene on suspicion of murder and a knife was recovered.”
The motive for the stabbing was not immediately clear. The incident comes five years after Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed to death by a man with white supremacist leanings.
Amess, 69, was a married father of five and a Member of Parliament since 1983, making him one of the longest-serving lawmakers in the country. Amess was a member of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling Conservative Party.
“Absolutely devastating news about Sir David Amess,” Johnson’s wife Carrie Johnson wrote on Twitter. “He was hugely kind and good. An enormous animal lover and a true gent. This is so completely unjust. Thoughts are with his wife and their children.”
Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi described Amess as “a champion for animal welfare, the less fortunate, and the people of Southend West. You will be missed by many.”
Conservative MP Eleanor Laing also lamented the attack.
“All elected representatives must be able to go about their work without the fear of physical or verbal attacks,” Laing wrote on Twitter. “What has happened to Sir David Amess in Essex today is unforgivable.”