A member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament, Jo Cox, was fatally shot and stabbed on Thursday, in an attack that left another injured.
Cox, who was a member of the Labour Party, was meeting with constituents at a library in Birstall, northern England, when the attack happened. Police have identified a 52-year-old local man named Tommy Mair as the main suspect. They are investigating unconfirmed witness reports that Mair shouted, "Britain first," a possible reference to the far-right political party of that name, as he attacked, the Guardian reports.
Cox’s death comes at a tense time in British politics, one week from the so-called "Brexit" referendum, when the British people will decide whether Britain should leave the European Union. Campaigning on both sides of the referendum debate has temporarily halted in light of Cox’s death. The MP was an adamant supporter of Britain staying in the European Union.
Cox’s death has left the country "in shock and grief," Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement.
"Jo Cox died doing her public duty at the heart of our democracy, listening to and representing the people she was elected to serve," Corbyn said in the statement.
Prime Minister David Cameron also commented on the tragedy:
PM on Jo Cox: We’ve lost a great star. Jo was a great campaigning MP with huge compassion & a big heart. My thoughts are with her family.— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) June 16, 2016
Cox was married and a mother of two. Her husband, Brendan Cox, released the following statement on the tragic incident:
Today is the beginning of a new chapter in our lives. More difficult, more painful, less joyful, less full of love. I and Jo's friends and family are going to work every moment of our lives to love and nurture our kids and to fight against the hate that killed Jo.
Jo believed in a better world and she fought for it every day of her life with an energy, and a zest for life that would exhaust most people.
She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and two, that we all unite to fight against the hatred that killed her. Hate doesn't have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.
Jo would have no regrets about her life, she lived every day of it to the full.