Detectives are to question two people arrested over the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, described by family and friends as a loving family man who always wanted to serve in the British Army.
A man and a woman, both 29, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to murder during the investigation into the murder of the 25-year-old soldier, who was hacked to death in broad daylight in Woolwich, south-east London.
The two suspects thought to be responsible for the death are still in hospital in a stable condition with non-life threatening injuries, having been shot by officers at the scene.
They were named in reports as Michael Adebolajo, 28, originally from Romford, Essex, and Michael Oluwatobi Adebowale, of Greenwich, south-east London.
In moving tributes, father-of-one Drummer Rigby was described by his family as “a loving son, husband, father, brother and uncle”.
Last night shocking footage emerged of the pair being shot by armed response officers from the Metropolitan Police.
A clip on the Daily Mirror’s website shows one of the men charge at police and drop one of his knives before being gunned down.
His accomplice is seen raising his arm and aiming a handgun at officers before he too is downed, as eight shots ring out in total.
Last night Scotland Yard arrested a man and a woman on suspicion of conspiracy to murder and detectives began interviewing them at a south London police station.
The arrests were made as the victim’s family issued a statement paying tribute to him.
“Lee was lovely,” it said.
“He would do anything for anybody, he always looked after his sisters and always protected them. He took a ’big brother’ role with everyone.
“All he wanted to do from when he was a little boy, was be in the Army.
“He wanted to live life and enjoy himself. His family meant everything to him. He was a loving son, husband, father, brother, and uncle, and a friend to many.
“We ask that our privacy be respected at this difficult time.”
Six residential addresses were searched as part of the investigation, three in south London, one in east London, one in north London and one in Saxilby, Lincolnshire, the former home of Adebolajo.
The front door of the property in east London’s Eastney Street, had been shattered.
A neighbour said four people were led away from the flat at 6am, and that two children, aged three and seven, were also taken away.
In a statement the force said: “This is a large, complex and fast-moving investigation which continues to develop.
“Many lines of inquiry are being followed by detectives and the investigation is progressing well.”
Officers recovered a number of items from the murder scene and continue to appeal for witnesses to get in touch, and send in footage and photographs of what happened.
US president Barack Obama added his voice to those condemning the murder.
He said: “I condemn in the strongest terms the appalling attack against a British service member in Woolwich on May 22.
“The United States stands resolute with the United Kingdom, our ally and friend, against violent extremism and terror. There can be absolutely no justification for such acts, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family of the victim, the police and security services responding to this horrific act and the communities they serve, and the British people.”
Drummer Rigby, from Crumpsall, Manchester, had a two-year-old son.
He was from 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, and was attached to the Regimental Recruiting Team in London.
Sergeant Barry Ward said he was “a loving father” to his two-year-old son Jack, and had “a very bubbly character”.
A shocked and tearful neighbour outside the family home in Middleton, Greater Manchester, who did not want to be named, said: “He had always wanted to be in the Army since he was knee high.”
A steady stream of relatives and friends visited the house throughout the day to support the family.
Police and PCSOs also stood guard outside the house and patrolled the street.
Drummer Rigby, who joined the Army in 2006 and was a lifelong Manchester United fan, had served in Helmand province, Afghanistan, where he was a member of the Fire Support Group in Patrol Base Woqab.
He had also stood outside the Royal Palaces as part of his battalion’s public duties commitment.
The Rt Rev Mark Davies, Bishop of Middleton, said: “The nation has been shocked by Lee’s death. But the greatest burden is carried by those he knew and loved. Our prayers and sympathies are with his family, friends and those he served with.”
Drummer Rigby’s murderers were British and of Nigerian descent.
The pair were known to security services, and apparently shouted “Allah akhbar” as they struck.
It is believed that the serving soldier was run over and then hacked to death, yards from a primary school.
Alfie Swain, who said he had met Drummer Rigby, told BBC News: “I can’t explain it, how much it hurts. It’s just disappointing.
“I’d met him in and out of the Army base itself. Hearing that he’s gone is just destroying. He was a nice man. He was caring, loving. To hear that he’s gone is just disappointing.
“I’m just terribly, terribly upset. I just want to burst into tears right now.”
One chilling video clip showed a man with heavily blood-stained hands claiming the killing was committed in the name of Allah and ranting about the Government.
He said: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you.”
The attacker went on: “We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
Following a meeting of the Cobra emergency response committee, Prime Minister David Cameron said the attack had “sickened” the country.
He said: “This country will be absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror. We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms.”
Police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it was not pursuing any criminal or misconduct offences in relation to the officers who used their weapons.
IPCC investigators have viewed CCTV of what happened, and said two officers fired guns and one discharged a Taser.
They have given initial accounts of what happened.
Hundreds of bunches of flowers were tied to the railings of the barracks at the corner of John Wilson Street and Artillery Place, or placed on the wall.
Among the floral tributes were small wooden crosses bearing poppies, with “In Remembrance” written underneath.
Cards and messages read: “Goodnight and God bless young man”, “Such a senseless act” and “A young man taken so tragically”.