British Prime Minister David Cameron visited Cumbria today, describing Derrick Bird’s shooting rampage which left 12 dead as “the most appalling tragedy”.
Mr Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May visited West Cumberland Hospital, then Workington police station to pay tribute to staff who dealt with the aftermath of the shootings.
Speaking at Workington police station, he said: “Obviously, people here in west Cumbria have suffered the most appalling tragedy and it will have a huge impact on the community.
“And I wanted to come here to show (that) the Government wanted to listen, wanted to show how much it cares about what has happened here.”
Their private visit to the Whitehaven hospital - where five victims are being treated - began just after 11.30am and lasted around 50 minutes.
All five patients were described today as being in a “comfortable” condition. Two others are being treated in Newcastle.
Mr Cameron met some of Bird’s victims.
Some of the 11 survivors suffered terrible facial injuries as the killer appeared to deliberately aim for their heads.
The PM and Mrs May then headed for the police station, where he was greeted by Chief Constable Craig Mackey.
They were briefed by senior officers on developments in the wide-ranging investigation and met some of those who were first on the scenes of the killings on Wednesday, including ambulance workers, police officers, firefighters and mountain rescue teams.
The visit lasted 45 minutes.
Having met some victims of Bird, he was asked whether he now thought there was an urgency to tighten gun laws. Mr Cameron said: ``I think the Government must look at all of the issues and of course gun issues is something that has to be looked at.
“We do have very tough gun control in this country and I think what we need to do is take the time to allow people through that phase of mourning and realising and understanding, the incredible sense of loss that people have in Cumbria, not leaping to conclusions.
“But yes, lots of questions that we will have to ask and we have to make sure that we answer those questions and do everything we can to help them through that process.”
Asked what could be done to prevent another tragedy like this, he replied: “What we don’t know yet is all the facts in the case. I’ve had a presentation from the police about what they know so far and there is more to be learned and more to be understood.
“There will be some parts of this that we will never understand. There were some random acts of killings and people who will have lost loved ones will ask why it happened to them and why so random; why it is so unfair and so cruel what’s happened here.
“You will hear incredible tales of bravery. I met a woman at the hospital who lost her neighbours, incredibly brave. She wants to go home and start to rebuild her life.
“There are incredible stories of bravery here and an amazing community that has been torn by this but will eventually come through this like other communities have.
“I think we should give them the time to mourn those that they have lost and I think it is very important that the media understand that too.
“To respect the wishes of the community in terms of giving them time and the space that they need to understand what has happened to all of those that were lost.
“And then, yes, to ask all the questions that they will have.
“Inevitably, people will have questions and the Government needs to be here to listen, to show them that it cares and also to try and find the right way to answer the questions that people quite legitimately have about these dreadful events that have happened.”