LONDON — A man armed with a knife and wearing what turned out to be a phony suicide explosives vest was shot dead by an armed officer near London Bridge on Friday after being wrestled to the ground by passersby in what the police said was a terror-related incident.
Two people who were injured in the attack have died, according to London's police commissioner. Three other people who were injured are being treated at hospital.
Police had earlier said it was called to a stabbing at a "premises" near London Bridge at around 2 p.m. local time. It ended with passersby tackling the fleeing suspect before he was shot dead by officers.
More footage showed a different man walking away with a large knife he reportedly wrestled from the attacker.
Metropolitan Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, who acts as the U.K.'s top counter-terrorism officer, subsequently told reporters that the man had died at the scene. Basu added that police believe the dead suspect had a "hoax device" strapped to his body.
"What's remarkable about the images we've seen is the breath-taking heroism of members of the public who literally ran towards danger not knowing what confronted them," the mayor told reporters. "Members of the public didn't realise at the time that was a hoax device, and they really are the best of us."
Basu said police had an "open mind" as to motivation for the attack.
Authorities closed off London Bridge and warned commuters at the nearby train station not to travel on the bridge or along Tooley Street. Traffic on the bridge was at a standstill with a truck parked at a 90-degree angle across the road. The train station was later closed.
In interviews with CNBC, commuters spoke of a panicked situation during which people were told to initially evacuate London Bridge station before being asked to remain on the platforms.
A tweet from the London Ambulance Service described it as a major incident. U.K. leader Boris Johnson tweeted that he was being kept updated on the incident. He later thanked the emergency services and members of the public for their "immense bravery in responding to this suspected terrorist attack at London Bridge."
"This is an appalling incident and all my thoughts are with the victims and their families," the U.K. leader said.
Johnson is due to host NATO leaders, including President Donald Trump, next week.
Johnson's main opponent in the Dec. 12 elections, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, said he was shocked by the incident and that his thoughts were with those caught up in it.
Friday's incident came 2½ years after eight people were killed and 48 were injured in a terrorist vehicle-ramming and stabbings along London Bridge, which links the capital's business district with the south bank of the River Thames.
Earlier this month, the country downgraded its terrorism threat level from "severe" to "substantial."
— The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.