Terror at Westminster


Five Killed in Terror Attack Outside Parliament

The Palace at Westminster, the seat of British Parliament, and the home of the iconic Big Ben was the scene of a terrorist attack on March 22, 2017.  The attack, meant to strike fear at the world wide symbol of Great Britain killed five people and injured over fifty.  

The attack occurred in the middle of the day and started on the crowded Westminster Bridge.  British citizen Khalid Masood had rented an SUV in Birmingham England and drove on the the famous bridge.  He slammed on the gas, achieving speeds of more than 70 mph before mounting the sidewalk.  As the broken bodies of pedestrians careened off the vehicle, Masood continued to floor the accelerator.   

The terrorist continued until he struck a railing just outside the grounds of the Palace at Westminster.  Jumping from his car, clad entirely in black, he raced on foot to an open gate.  Waiting for him there was Metropolitan Police Officer Keith Palmer.  As Palmer attempted to prevent Masood from getting into Parliament, the killer produced two knives.  Unarmed and undeterred, Palmer fought Masood for several moments.  Although stabbed multiple times, the brave cop was able to slow Masood down long enough for officers armed with guns to arrive on the scene and shoot Masood dead.    

Palmer did not survive his massive injuries.  He was given the rare honor of lying in state inside the Chapel in Westminster, followed by a hero’s funeral.  Thousands lined the street to pay tribute to the officer’s sacrifice.  

In addition to Officer Palmer, four pedestrians on the bridge were killed by the rampaging vehicle.  Masood died at the scene after being shot three times by the police.  He was a 52 year old British national who had converted to Islam and adopted a radical ideology.  He had been convicted of two prior knife attacks and his conversion occurred while serving time for his crimes. 

Christopher Flanagan


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