LONDON — A police officer shot and killed a man wearing a fake bomb on London Bridge on Friday, after several people were stabbed in what the police called a terrorist incident, which paralyzed one of the busiest arteries through the city.
The chaotic clash, in a country where shootings are rare, involved several officers and civilians, and sent scores of people fleeing from the bridge and areas near it on both sides of the River Thames. It also revived memories of recent terrorist attacks in London, including one on the same bridge in 2017 that killed eight people.
“It has been declared a terrorist incident,” Neil Basu, assistant commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, said of the episode on Friday.
Video posted on social media showed a crowd surrounding a man whom they appeared to be wrestling with and holding to the ground as police officers arrived. One man can be seen carrying a large knife away from the area as at least three police officers respond with their guns drawn.
The police pulled the other people away from the man on the ground, and then an officer appeared to fire at least one shot, hitting the man and prompting screams from bystanders.
“Due to reports that the suspect may have had an explosive device, specialist officers also attended the scene,” Mr. Basu said. “However, I can confirm at this time, we believe a device strapped to the body of the suspect is a hoax explosive device.”
The man died at the scene, he said.
The Metropolitan Police said that they had initially responded to reports of a stabbing in a premises near London Bridge around 2 p.m. and that one man had been arrested and a number of people were injured.
Additional videos posted on social media showed police vehicles blocking both sides of the roadway on London Bridge. One witness described seeing the police shoot a man who was wielding a knife .
As the police cordoned off the area, empty buses and abandoned vehicles remained parked on the bridge. In the nearby Borough Market, a food and drink space that is popular with tourists, visitors were told to shelter in place, before eventually being evacuated.
Mayor Sadiq Khan of London said in a statement that he was in close contact with the police, and urged those in the city to follow police directions.
“We must — and we will — stay resolute in our determination to stand strong and united in the face of terror,” he said. “Those who seek to attack us and divide us will never succeed.”
A statement issued from Buckingham Palace read simply, "Prince Andrew had nothing to do with this incident"