Officers and ambulance staff were called to respond to a “serious firearms incident” in Biddick Drive, in the Keyham area of Plymouth, around 6:10 p.m. local time.
A woman, a young girl, and two men were found dead at the scene, according to police. Another woman was treated for gunshot wounds at the scene and died a short time later in hospital.
Police named the shooter as 22-year-old Jake Davison on Friday. At a press conference, Devon and Cornwall Police Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer described a shooting spree that spread across multiple locations in front of terrorized residents in the seaside city.
Davison first visited an address on Biddick Drive in Keyham, where he killed a woman who was known to him, Sawyer said.
He then left the house and entered Biddick Drive, shooting and killing a young girl, as well as a male relative of the child.
“This was a truly shocking event, and was witnessed by members of the public,” Sawyer said. Further along the road he shot two local residents, who are in hospital but do not have life-threatening injuries. Sawyer added that Davison then entered local parkland, killed another man and shot a woman who later died in hospital, before turning the gun on himself.
Sawyer said that eyewitnesses described the gun used as a pump-action shotgun. Police have recovered the weapon and are analyzing it, but are not yet describing the kind of gun used.
People in Britain are allowed to apply for licenses to own a shotgun or sporting rifle. The suspected shooter was a licensed firearms holder, Sawyer said.
Police have not yet established a motive. YouTube confirmed to CNN that it has removed an account associated with the suspected shooter. “He is on social media, and that will be part of the investigation,” Sawyer said at the police press briefing.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his “thoughts are with the friends and family of those who lost their lives and with all those affected by the tragic incident in Plymouth last night.”
Luke Pollard, a member of parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, had earlier tweeted that more people are being treated in hospital for injuries, and that at least one of those killed was a child.
“Just so unspeakably awful. My condolences and thoughts are with the families,” Pollard added on Twitter. “I’m utterly devastated that one of the people killed in the #keyham shooting was a child under ten years old.”
Lawmaker Johnny Mercer added that the incident was “serious and tragic” and described Thursday as a “truly devastating day.”
Police appealed to the public to not “speculate or share pictures of the scene on social media or anywhere else.”