Three members of the public, including one armed with a fire extinguisher and another a 5ft narwhal tusk, grappled with and eventually grounded the London Bridge knife attacker before police arrived.
Footage has emerged showing people at the scene surrounding the attacker, who is eventually pinned to the ground. One man sprays him with a fire extinguisher before trying to hit him with it, while another approaches him with a narwhal tusk – long pointed tooth from a type of whale – lunging at him. It is believed the item was pulled from the wall of Fishmongers’ Hall, a grade II-listed building on London Bridge.
Outstanding stories of bravery have emerged around the incident in London on Friday, in which a man and a woman were killed by an Islamist extremist.
Scotland Yard is investigating how 28-year-old Usman Khan was able to launch the attack in London Bridge, despite being known to the authorities and fitted with an electronic tag to monitor his movements. He was allowed out a year ago after serving time for his part in a plot to blow up the London Stock Exchange.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, praised the police and the public for their actions, sharing footage on social media of the people trying to bring the suspect down.
“What’s remarkable about the images we’ve seen is the breathtaking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger, not knowing what confronted them,” he said.
In a tweet, Amy Coop, said: “A guy who was with us at Fishmongers Hall took a 5’ narwhal tusk from the wall and went out to confront the attacker. You can see him standing over the man (with what looks like a white pole) in the video. We were trying to help victims inside but that man’s a hero.”
Not much is known about those who tried to disarm the attacker or those who were killed. Craig Heathcote was walking across the bridge as happened.
“I was on the east side of the bridge, walking across it – heading to the supermarket on my lunch break. A man appeared in front of me and started screaming that there was someone with a knife, then I realised something was happening,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
He said it took a while to process what was going on, but he could see what looked like a “big scuffle happening” and what felt like “hundreds of people screaming” on the bridge.
“The police were not yet there so I called 999 as I felt no one else was [calling them] … While I was on the phone I think a car appeared. It was either the first response or by chance a car driving across the bridge. Someone jumped out and waved them down. Two armed officers jumped out and took over situation,” he said.
Heathcote said he saw and heard the gunshots as the suspect was shot by police. “It was quite a bizarre moment watching it all unfold,” he said.
Thomas Gray, 24, was among the group who tackled the killer to the ground. He stamped on the terrorist’s wrist to try to make him release one of two large knives he was carrying.
Gray, a tour manager, said: “I was brought up on rugby and the rule is ‘one in, all in’. I did what any Londoner would do and tried to put a stop to it.”
He had been driving northbound on London Bridge with his colleague Stevie when they saw people running. He said they turned the car off and when they reached the attacker he had been “wrestled” to the floor by “five or six other blokes”.
“He had two knives on him, one in each hand, and it looked like they were taped to his hands,” Gray said.
“I stamped on his left wrist while someone else smacked his hand on the ground and kicked one of the knives away.
“I went to pick up the knife when I heard a cop say: ‘He has got a bomb’.”
On Saturday, a police search believed to be linked to the London Bridge investigation was being carried out at a three-storey block of flats in Wolverhampton Road, Stafford, close to the town centre.
A police photographer and search teams were seen entering one of two doors at the front entrance to the block, while two uniformed officers were present at a cordon outside the building.
Former Metropolitan police Ch Supt Dal Babu said: “The terrorist attack on London Bridge demonstrated the worst and best in society. This cowardly individual sought to kill indiscriminately, but brave Londoners alongside the police prevented further deaths because of their swift actions. They are truly heroes.
“Fundamentally, a lack of resources to policing and the criminal justice system puts us all in danger. We need to carry out an urgent review of the resources available to monitor convicted terrorist by the police and security services, including what impacts privatisation has had on the probation service.”