Very sad day for England. Keep this woman’s family in your thoughts and prayers.
The lawmaker, Jo Cox, 41, who was considered a rising star in the opposition Labour Party and a passionate advocate for victims of the civil war in Syria, was shot in Birstall, a town about six miles southwest of the city of Leeds. A 77-year-old man was slightly injured in the attack.
A 52-year-old man was arrested in Ms. Cox’s killing, and the police said they were not looking for any other suspects. No motive has been established, officials said.
The suspect was identified in the British news media as Thomas Mair.
On Thursday night, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported on its website that Mr. Mair was a “dedicated supporter” of the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi organization in the United States. The center, which tracks hate groups, said Mr. Mair bought a manual from the alliance in 1999 that included instructions on how to build a pistol. It based its reporting on invoices it said it had obtained, copies of which were published on its website.
According to the center, Mr. Mair sent just over $620 to the alliance for items bought from National Vanguard Books, its printing imprint, including works that instructed readers on the chemistry of powder and explosives.
Mr. Mair’s brother Scott told The Daily Telegraph that he was “struggling to believe what has happened.”
“My brother is not violent and is not all that political. I don’t even know who he votes for. He has a history of mental illness, but he has had help,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.
Gun ownership in Britain has been tightly controlled since a 1996 massacre at a school in Scotland, and historians said it was the first time a sitting member of Parliament had been killed since 1990, when the Irish Republican Army assassinated a Conservative lawmaker, Ian Gow.
The killing occurred one week before a referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union, and both sides immediately halted campaigning out of respect for Ms. Cox.
“The death of Jo Cox is a tragedy,” Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain wrote on Twitter, describing Ms. Cox as “a committed and caring M.P.” and “a great star.” He said, “It’s right that we’re suspending campaigning activity in this referendum.”
Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, wrote on Twitter: “The whole of the Labour family, and indeed the whole country, is in shock and grief at the horrific murder of Jo Cox.”
Ms. Cox, like most other Labour politicians, supported Britain’s continued membership in the European Union. In her maiden speech in Parliament last year, she spoke of the diversity of her district, which includes Irish Catholics and Indian Muslims. “We are far more united and have far more in common than that which divides us,” she said.
Last week, she wrote on Twitter: “Immigration is a legitimate concern, but it’s not a good reason to leave the E.U.” On Wednesday, her husband, Brendan Cox, took part in a joust between prominent campaigners from both sides, an event nicknamed the Battle of the Thames.
Mr. Cox issued a statement on Thursday evening, saying: “Hate doesn’t have a creed, race or religion, it is poisonous.”
In Birstall, where the last census recorded nearly 17,000 residents, the police cordoned off the area around Market Street, where the suspect was arrested.
The police were summoned at 12:53 p.m., and found Ms. Cox with severe injuries. She was taken by an air ambulance to Leeds General Infirmary, where paramedics tried to save her. A doctor pronounced her death at 1:48 p.m., Dee Collins, temporary chief constable of the West Yorkshire Police, said at a news conference.
Constable Collins said that several weapons, including a firearms, had been recovered from the scene and were being analyzed. “This is a very significant investigation, with large numbers of witnesses that have been spoken to by the police at this time,” she said, adding, “We are not in a position to discuss any motive at this time.”
Speaking at the same news conference, Mark Burns-Williamson, the police and crime commissioner for West Yorkshire, described the killing as “a localized incident, albeit one that has a much wider impact.”