Wed Mar 22 19:25:30 EDT 2017
Scotland Yard has identified the police officer who was shot and killed in a terrorist attack on Wednesday in London.
The officer, Keith Palmer, 48, was a member of the Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Command and served on the police force for 15 years before his death. He was a husband and father.
“Keith Palmer was killed while bravely doing his duty – protecting our city and the heart of our democracy from those who want to destroy our way of life,” London Mayor Sidiq Khan said in a statement.
Mark Rowley, the national lead for Counter Terrorism Policing and the Acting Deputy Commissioner at Scotland Yard, said in a statement Wednesday that Palmer “was someone who left for work today expecting to return home at the end of his shift and he had every right to expect that would happen.”
Rowley confirmed five people died in the attack, with approximately 40 people injured. Of the injured, three are police officers, two of whom are in serious condition.
Scotland Yard said they will not release the identity of the suspect, but it will continue the investigation and work throughout the night.
Rowley told the press that officials think they know who the attacker might be and that they “are working to look at associates.”
He said Scotland Yard is working under the assumption the attack was connected to “Islamism-related terrorism.”
Rowley said the threat level in the United Kingdom has been labeled “severe” “for some time” and that it will not change. The lockdown on Parliament has been lifted by officials.
The assailant careened a car through one of the busiest and most recognizable parts of London at about 2:40 p.m. local time, hitting dozens of pedestrians before crashing into the gate outside the Palace of Westminster during Prime Minister’s Questions time. The attacker then got out and fatally stabbed a police officer before being shot dead by guards, the BBC and other outlets report.
British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday night addressed the deadly car and stabbing attack near Parliament earlier that day, assuring the world that the city remains unbroken by the violence.
“We will all move forward together,” she said outside 10 Downing Street in London, less than half a mile from the site of the attack. “Never giving in to terror and never allowing the voices of hate and evil to drive us apart.”
Wed Mar 22 19:00:03 EDT 2017
When missing freshman Mary Catherine Elizabeth Thomas first met teacher Tad Cummins at the Culleoka Unit High School in Tennessee, she got a creepy impression, her older sister reveals to PEOPLE.
Sarah Thomas says she was with her 15-year-old sister, who goes by Elizabeth, when they first met Cummins at the start of the school year. Sarah says the 50-year-old Cummins allegedly rubbed his hands on both of their backs.
“Elizabeth looked at me with her eyes, like, ‘This guy is scary, get this guy off,’ ” Sarah recalls.
Cummins allegedly “groomed” Elizabeth from that point forward and earned her trust, family members say. Now, the teen is the subject of a multi-state AMBER Alert after vanishing on March 13.
Authorities suspect Cummins, a former health teacher who was recently fired over accusations about his relationship to Elizabeth, abducted her.
A warrant has been issued for his arrest on charges of aggravated kidnapping and sexual contact with a minor. The latter charge stems from an alleged kiss between Cummins and Thomas on Jan. 23, on school property, according to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
According to Sarah, Elizabeth grew close to Cummins because she was interested in the medical field and looked at her teacher as a mentor.
“It just so happened that she wanted to do the things he was claiming , so she probably idolized ,” Sarah says. “He took that interest to kind of manipulate, to gain control over her, to gain her favor.”
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Elizabeth was at a vulnerable point coming into the 2016-2017 school year because she had been bullied the year before, Sarah says. Last year was Elizabeth’s first in the public school system after being homeschooled until eighth grade.
“She said months before that she had to get out of here, we have to get out of here, I can’t take this,” Sarah remembers.
Elizabeth’s father, Anthony, told PEOPLE Cummins “built up a system where she was dependent on him.”
According to Anthony, Cummins helped Elizabeth with homework and “ her money, bought a microwave so she would heat food up in his room try and get her out of trouble.”
After the alleged kiss between the teen and Cummins, Anthony says he confronted his daughter, but she denied it had occurred. Worried, he told her not to contact Cummins again.
Family members allege Cummins exerted an ever-increasing psychological control over Thomas — all of which occurred under their noses.
Her brother, 27-year-old James Thomas, tells PEOPLE, “He pretty much controlled every aspect of what she believed she could do and couldn’t do… that to me is terrifying, he had that much control over her without anyone knowing.”
Authorities allege Cummins is likely keeping Elizabeth “off the grid” and they’ve urge the public to search their properties, local campgrounds, rural areas and parking garages.
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The TBI asks anyone who believes they spot Cummins or Elizabeth to not approach them and instead keep an eye on them while calling 911.
The teen was last seen wearing a flannel shirt and black leggings. She is 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighs 120 lbs., with blonde hair and hazel eyes.
Cummins was seen driving a Silver Nissan Rogue with Tennessee license plate 976ZPT, according to the TBI. He is 6 feet tall and weighs 200 lbs., with brown hair and eyes.
Anyone with information on Cummins or Elizabeth should call the TBI at 1-800-TBI-FIND.
Wed Mar 22 18:50:44 EDT 2017
Reese Witherspoon’s look-alike daughter is wishing her mom a happy birthday with an endearing post on Instagram.
Ava Phillippe, who closely resembles her famous mom, took to the social media platform to celebrate the Big Little Lies star’s 41st birthday on Wednesday.
The 17-year-old, whose dad is actor Ryan Phillippe, posted a photo of her mom at her birthday dinner, along with the caption “Happy birthday to one of my best friends. ❤️.”
In the photo, Witherspoon sits in front of an amazing birthday cake, adorned with sparklers and an array of multi-colored roses.
The actress posted her own celebratory photo on Instagram Wednesday, showing herself holding pink balloons and wearing a custom-made birthday dress from her lifestyle brand, Draper James.
“Feeling so much birthday love today! Thank you!!! I am one lucky gal (Even @draperjames made me my own dress! ),” she wrote.
Earlier this year, Witherspoon spoke with Harper’s Bazaar about growing older.
“It’s a great thing, getting older. You are who you are; you say what you mean,” she told the magazine.
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Witherspoon also spoke with Conan O’Brien on Tuesday night’s Conan about what it’s like raising teenagers.
“My daughter said the other day, ‘It’s like we look like Dad, but we get our weirdness from you,’ ” Witherspoon said. “But I’m goofy. I send them weird Snapchats of me doing old man voices and goofy teeth. That’s the way we communicate.”