The devastated family of 23-year-old Jacob Billington, who was murdered on the streets of Birmingham while enjoying a night out with friends, has paid tribute to the "light of our lives".
The man who was murdered in an accidental attack by an angry knife-man has been referred to as Jacob Billington as his family paid tribute to the "light of our lives".
The 23-year-old was with a group of old school friends from Liverpool when he was stabbed to death on Irving Street in Birmingham early on Sunday morning.
Another member of the group, also 23, was seriously injured in the attack and died in critical condition in the hospital.
A 27-year-old man remains in custody on suspicion of murder and seven attempted murders.
Mr Billington's ruined family said in a statement: “Jacob was the light of our lives and we were devastated by his loss.
“He was a fun, caring, and wonderful person who was loved by every single person he met.
“He lit every room with his limitless energy and witty humor, and the loss of someone so special will be felt by everyone who has known him for years.
"We ask that our privacy be respected during this difficult time."
Another 30-year-old man stabbed to death on Livery Street and a 22-year-old woman attacked on Hurst Street remain seriously injured in the hospital.
Four more, three men and one woman, were also injured.
Chief Superintendent Steve Graham said, “Our thoughts and condolences go to Jacob's family and friends after receiving such shocking news, especially those who spent their night with him.
“It's extremely shocking that seeing friends again ends so brutally.
Likewise, the families of the other victims were devastated by the events on Sunday morning and we are working hard to find out what led to the seemingly random attacks.
“We have no evidence that the motive was either racist, homophobic, or gang related.
Armed police dragged the 27-year-old suspect out of his home in a dramatic 4 a.m. robbery in the Selly Oak neighborhood, about three miles from the site of the frenzied attack that broke out early on Sunday morning.
The "terrified" man was still wearing his pajamas when firearms officers stumbled upon his house and handcuffed him.
Three other people, two men and one woman, were arrested at the same address on suspicion of helping a perpetrator.
Now his neighbors in the quiet cul-de-sac claim that the suspect – who allegedly lives with friends in a rented semi-detached house – is "mentally disturbed and possibly a schizophrenic." Another called him an "oddball" who spent his days on the bus.
Police chasing the Birmingham Knife Man release CCTV images of a suspect after the nightly rampage left one dead and seven injured. Witnesses shared their horror at the bloodbath on the streets of the city early in the morning
Local residents reported seeing several police cars around the property before officers pulled the suspect out.
One said, “I do not know the group who live in the house, but I understand that the man who was arrested was mentally disturbed and possibly a schizophrenic.
“Apparently his family is fine and helped, but he was estranged from them and living with friends.
Another neighbor said they saw him and another man being handcuffed from the house by dozens of armed police officers who were screaming and shouting.
& # 39; He was a little weird. Apparently, he spends his days traveling around Birmingham by bus.
"It's a terrible thing to happen so close to home."
The random attacks, which took place over 90 minutes in four areas of Birmingham city center, sparked a major manhunt for the knife man – when police opened an investigation into how the knife stab was allowed to last for almost two hours.
A police forensic scientist holds a sealed container with a black knife on Edmund Street in Birmingham
A 23-year-old man was killed, while a 32-year-old woman and a 19-year-old man are in critical condition and have sustained five other minor injuries. Horrified witnesses revealed how they saw the "chilled" suspect stab random victims in the head and neck and, when confronted, say "whatever".
Residents said they were woken by loud bangs and shouts as officers carried out the robbery this morning before handcuffing the suspect away.
John Astley said he was woken up by a loud bang one night and saw a police car parked in front of the neighboring property.
He told reporters, “I think three people lived there. They've only been there for a couple of months since July or so.
I looked out the front bedroom window and only saw that there was a police car. I could hear a lot of noise from next door and it sounded like they were doing a search. & # 39;
One resident said the house the suspect was in was occupied by "a number of people" while another added, "We heard a massive bang – we thought someone had a car crashed but had to it was you (the police) who opened the door.
"We looked out the window and there were a lot of armed cops shouting" armed police, get down. "There were two police cars, then three more police cars came by. I saw them bring four people out.
“The house was rented privately and they have been around for six weeks. Locals struggled with playing loud music. & # 39;
Another added: “He was spread out on the floor with his arms behind his back. It looked like he was wearing pajama pants. & # 39;
A local also told how the suspect was "scared" when he was handcuffed out during the "dramatic" attack. They added, “I can't believe what happened. It's terrifying to think a suspect lived there. It's awful. The people who lived there were a nightmare. There was constant loud music all day. & # 39;
Two men who crossed the police line at the address where the suspect was arrested called him a "normal boy."
The men, who refused to divulge their association with the suspect, spoke to police officers on the doorstep for a few minutes this morning.
A forensic investigator and police officer outside property in Nately Grove, Selly Oak, Birmingham, about three miles from where the knife was stabbed
The pajama-clad suspect is said to have been "scared" when he was arrested by armed police at 4am this morning in the Selly Oak area of town
West Midlands Police were criticized for failing to stop the rampage while driving. Khalid Mahmood, Perry Barr's Labor MP, questioned how the suspect managed to run through Birmingham city center for nearly two hours and stab people. The MP even suggested that the dead could have been saved if the police had reacted more quickly.
He said, “We have to look at the fact that he had two hours to run around the city center, which has a large number of surveillance cameras installed.
& # 39; Where was the surveillance? Both the public and the police were at further risk. One person is dead. How could this man get a two-hour speed?
"Had the alarm been set up early enough, the person who has now passed away might have been saved and it is important that we look at that."
He added that he was concerned that officials had given the suspect too much time to escape by not providing a description for several hours: “He could have left town. . . It's not good enough to withhold the information. We need to know why it took so long. & # 39;
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson told Sky News that a full investigation into police reaction would take place after the suspect "escaped into the crowd".
When asked if it was exceptional for an attacker to rage for two hours in Britain's second city, he told Times Radio, “It does, and that is a question I will ask once a person is in custody , then we have to think about the whole incident.
West Midlands Police arrested a man at a house in Nately Grove in Selly Oak, Birmingham, in a dramatic dawn robbery
Police arrested a 27-year-old man this morning on suspicion of murdering one man and stabbing seven others in a knife rush in Birmingham
“What we want to know, the police will look closely, we want to know that we avoid if something similar happens again when we can.
“Yes, there will be questions, there will be debriefing if you want, and if necessary we need to look at a different approach to policing.
“Everything will be done, there will be a thorough investigation, and we will look for lessons to be learned. We will learn these lessons.
"But as I've seen so far, the police acted very quickly and very professionally."
Jay Singh Sohal, the Conservative candidate for PCC, said: “I find it remarkable that the police did not immediately publish the essentials and give a description of what they were looking for. That delay means this guy could be anywhere. & # 39;
Mr Jamieson defended the delay in the release of CCTV images of the suspect.
He told Times Radio, “We had to search thousands of hours of CCTV footage and retrieve it from offices and buildings, some of which were of course closed.
& # 39; It took a while. They had to find a significant quality of the images in order to delete them so that people could give some kind of appreciation. So that took some time.
“What we initially had in the first few hours was a very comprehensive description of the person, but of course thousands of people in Birmingham look like that. It is not very helpful to formulate this fairly comprehensive description. We need something more specific. & # 39;
Police blamed the suspect's "unusual path" for failing to stop him, despite not providing any further information.
When asked if it was correct to say the police acted too slowly, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street told BBC Radio 4's Today program: “No, I don't think so.
“It's very easy to comment on a police investigation while it's live. I don't intend to fall into this trap. & # 39;
The motive for the shocking events has yet to be revealed, although police say they ruled out terrorism.
Police experts told MailOnline that an investigation was the attack, some of which took place in the city's gay village and could target members of the LGBT community.
However, a West Midlands Police spokesman said at the time that police believed the attacks were "random" and had no clue as to the motive. The man killed is not believed to be gay.
Residents described how armed police arrested the suspect in a dramatic 4am raid this morning at an address in the Selly Oak area of Birmingham, three miles from the location of the rampage
The first CCTV images of a man wanted in connection with a series of knife wounds were released by West Midlands Police
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said there would be a "full investigation" into the officials' response. His comments came a day after barriers were lifted on Irving Street in Birmingham city center after a stab that killed a man
Following the arrest, Steve Graham, Chief Superintendent of the Birmingham Police Commander said, “The officers worked yesterday and into the wee hours of the morning tracking down the man we believe is responsible for these terrible crimes.
& # 39; We released CCTV footage of the suspect and had a strong public response. I would like to thank everyone who shared our appeal and provided information for the investigation.
An investigation this morning brought us to an address in the Selly Oak area where a man was arrested.
& # 39; This is clearly a crucial development, but our investigation continues.
"We still need to speak to witnesses who saw what happened, who haven't spoken to us, or to people who may have video footage or photos of the incidents or the attacker."
Witnesses have described how sudden the attack was, with the suspect arbitrarily confronting a man for talking to a woman and stabbing him in the head.
A witness said: “The knife man was disturbed. He went to a man and confronted him with chatting with a girl. The man had done nothing. He stuck a knife in his head. Then he ran up the street and stabbed a woman. & # 39;
Previously, shocked witnesses described seeing a man stab a woman in the neck before walking away seemingly unconcerned.
One witness to the knife wounds described the moment he saw a woman who was stabbed in the neck during the horror attack.
Bar owner Savvas Sfrantziz says he saw the man he describes as "black" in his twenties and hooded stab the woman "several times" in the neck before "walking away".
One man died in the knife wounds, seven were injured, including two people, a man and a woman, who are said to be in critical condition with serious injuries in the hospital.
Speaking of the attack, Mr Sfrantziz, who owns the Mykonos bar on Hurst Street where one of the attacks took place, told Sky News, “I saw him stab the girl in the neck several times. I was only about 20 meters away
"She started screaming," He's stabbing me. "But everyone thought he was going to rob her because she had a necklace.
"He wasn't worried, he wasn't worried, after stabbing the girl, he went away."
Yesterday police chiefs revealed how they believed the victims were attacked "accidentally" and that there is currently "no evidence" that the knife wounds were related to terrorism, gangs or hate crimes.
Following the knife wounds in Birmingham, officials also cordoned off an area in the city's LGBT area known as the "Gay Village"
Forensic officers cross a cordon on Hurst Walk, near Hurst Street and near the Arcadia Center where part of the attack took place
Pictures from yesterday show a knife excavated from a drain on Edmund Street by police officers investigating the knife wounds in Birmingham
The West Midlands Police Commissioner says the increase in violence due to Covid is "almost inevitable"
West Midlands Police and Police Commissioner said an increase in violence was "almost inevitable" due to the pandemic following a spate of knife wounds in Birmingham.
Speaking at a press conference following the knife wounds in Birmingham, David Jamieson told reporters the city was "well used to activity".
He said, “I think what is different is the randomness of this particular event, but also the number of other events that also took place.
"The level of violence that has taken place is actually very, very worrying."
Mr Jamieson said an increase in violence was expected due to the lockdown and pandemic, although he added that Sunday's incident may not be related.
He continued, "I have been saying in the context of Covid-19 for a while now that many of the pent-up feelings people have and are unable to come out of combine with people who are now insecure about theirs Future and their work, it was almost inevitable that the violence would increase.
“I'm not saying this is directly related, but nonetheless, we are now seeing an increase in violence among younger people, especially younger men. We see that this is increasing across the region.
“I'm afraid if we don't address this and some of the underlying issues with some urgency, we might see it grow.
"Even so, Birmingham is a good place, a good place, a safe city and it is a shame that this terrible incident happened last night."
"We continue to hold a number of scenes across the city including Livery Street, Irving Street and Hurst Street."
The officers were initially called to report a knife stabbed downtown on Sunday around 12:30 p.m.
Police say the incident started in Constitution Hill just north of the city center and was moving towards the intersection of Livery Street and Barwick Street in the Snow Hill area.
The attacker then moved south through downtown before further attacks on Irving Street and Hurst Street, according to police.
Officers say there were multiple stitches in each location. There are currently barriers in place in every area, including a forensic tent on Irving Street and Livery Street.
West Midlands Police did not reveal the location of the murder. However, it was reported that a 23-year-old man was killed at the Irving Street crime scene.
The attacker allegedly went to Hurst Street and the city's Gay Village area, where witnesses say they saw him repeatedly stab a woman in the neck. A 19-year-old man was also seriously injured.
Five other people between the ages of 23 and 33 were also injured in the brutal knife stab.
One of the areas that need to be cordoned off is the intersection of Hurst Street and Bromsgrove Street.
The area is part of the Gay Village in Birmingham – an LGBT area with a vibrant nightlife with clubs, bars and live entertainment.
This is the area where the Birmingham Gay Pride event takes place every year. Police say they don't believe the stitches were motivated by hate and that the victims were unknown to one another.
LGBT bar Eden staff said customers were locked up inside the venue when police flooded the streets.
Owner Cal Eden told The Sun Online, “It was really, really scary. I've never seen so many cops before. It was just an indiscriminate attack from the noise.
& # 39; It was really scary. We closed the doors because we didn't want to scare our customers. & # 39;
Meanwhile, bartender David Nash has told how he saw a hooded suspect run from the knife-stab site.
He said he later saw a victim being treated for an apparent neck wound when the alleged attacker fled after members of the public shouted, "Stop him, he stabbed someone".
Mr Nash was working at the Village Inn on Hurst Street in the heart of Birmingham & # 39; s Gay Village when the man walked past the pub around 2:20 pm.
"I was on the street around 2:20 am and we heard someone shouting down the street," Stop him, he just stabbed someone "and at first it was a guy with a black hoodie and hood up who walked relatively casually.
"As soon as someone shouted," Stop him, "he ran into the Sherlock Street area."
The man was walking in the middle of the street across from the bar, said Mr. Nash, adding, “He looked like an ordinary member of the public primarily.
& # 39; He was calm, I wouldn't say he was in a hurry. He didn't look back. He was just passing by.
“I couldn't see a gun at all. Obviously it was dark, he was dressed in dark clothes as far as we could see.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street asked people not to speculate about the incident.
The Conservative Mayor added: “The West Midlands Police will be holding a press conference this morning.
Two coroners behind a cordon near the Mexican chain restaurant Las Iguanas on Hurst Street in Birmingham on Sunday
Officials cordoned off the intersection between Hurst Street and Bromsgrove Street this morning. The area is close to the location where one of the incidents occurred
“I think of those affected and thank the emergency services who are dealing with this incident.
“The town is still open as usual this morning, but people are being asked to avoid the immediate vicinity of Hurst Street while the police conduct their investigation. & # 39;
Meanwhile, former Scotland Yard Detective Chief Superintendent Gerry Campbell criticized the police for delaying the release of information.
In a tweet he said: “The multiple jump-off in Birmingham has been going on for almost 10 hours without an informed update. Without some updates, people will be speculating. & # 39;
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement on Twitter: “All my thoughts are with those affected by the terrible incident in Birmingham last night. My thanks go to the emergency services who work hard on site.
"Anyone with information should contact @WMPolice."
Meanwhile, Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer tweeted: “While we wait overnight for news of the big incident in Birmingham, all our thoughts are with the victims and everyone else involved. Many thanks to our emergency services. & # 39;
Councilor Ian Ward, Chairman of Birminham City Council added: “We are extremely concerned about the major incident in downtown last night and, of course, our thoughts are first and foremost with all concerned.
I spoke to David Jamieson and assured him that we would work with the police to see what happened.
"There is no place in Birmingham for this level of violence and we ask everyone to cooperate with the police and follow their orders."
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