The father of the man suspected of carrying of the fatal stabbing of a British lawmaker during a meeting with local voters told British media he was shocked and “traumatized” by his son’s arrest, The Associated Press reported Sunday.
British authorities have not released the name of the suspect in the murder of David Amess, but British media reported the suspect is Ali Harbi Ali, 25, believed to be a British citizen with Somali heritage.
The Sunday Times reported that his father, Harbi Ali Kullane, a former adviser to Somalia’s prime minister, said British counter-terrorism police had visited him.
“I’m feeling very traumatized. It’s not something that I expected or even dreamed of,” he was quoted as saying.
Amess, who represented Southend West in Essex, was stabbed at approximately noon on Friday by a man who walked into the meeting in the Belfairs Methodist Church.
An air ambulance landed after the stabbing but Amess was declared dead at the scene despite emergency services attempting to save his life.
British police said later on Friday that counterterrorism officers are leading the investigation into the murder.
It is unclear what, if any, the suspect’s connection to Amess was and why he targeted the lawmaker. The meeting with voters was public and open to all, noted AP.
Police have been granted extra time to question the suspect, who was arrested on suspicion of murder but has not yet been charged. The BBC and others reported that the suspect was referred to a government program aimed at preventing people from supporting extremism some years ago, but said he was not a formal subject of interest for security services.
Amess had been a member of Parliament since 1997, and had been a lawmaker since 1983, making him one of the longest-serving politicians in the House of Commons.
His murder came five years after another MP, Jo Cox, was murdered in her small-town constituency by a man linked to a neo-Nazi group.