BIRMINGHAM: One man was killed and seven people were injured, two of them seriously, in a series of stabbings in the city of Birmingham in England, on Sunday (Sep 6), police said.
"We can now confirm that we have launched a murder investigation following last night's events," West Midlands Police said.
Police also said they were seeking a single suspect, adding that the victims of the attacks appeared to be randomly selected and did not target any one community or appear to be gang related.
Chief Superintendent Steve Graham said there was "no suggestion" at all that this was terror-related, and that it appeared to be a "random attack".
Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said he had no information to indicate the incidents were terrorism related but the public should stay "very vigilant".
West Midlands Police were called to reports of a stabbing in Birmingham city centre at about 12.30am.
"A number of other stabbings were reported in the area shortly after," they said in a statement.
Police cordons were in place on Sunday morning in three separate locations in the city centre: Hurst Street, Irving Street and Edmund Street.
A knife was visible to a Reuters witness beside a drain in Edmund Street.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said the series of incidents in the Hurst Street area of the city centre appeared to be related but the motivation for them was not yet understood.
"At this early stage it would not be appropriate to speculate on the causes of the incident," the police said.
A witness told the BBC she saw "multiple people having fist fights".
"GROUPS UPON GROUPS"
Cara Curran, a nightclub promoter who was working at the Arcadian Centre on Saturday night said she saw "groups upon groups" of people fighting in and around the venue and heard the use of "racial slurs".
"I had seen a lot of tensions building through the night, which wasn't quite like what I've seen before," she told AFP.
"I had left with my boyfriend. I heard a commotion and saw multiple police coming towards our direction. I headed towards where I saw them coming and it all just unfurled in front of me.
"It was quite a street fight. It didn't really look like fighting. It was just multiple people on top of each other, not one on one."
She added: "There was every ethnicity there, there was Asian, Black, White. It wasn't just this ethnicity against this ethnicity, it was a group of ethnicities with another group, and they sort of just went at it."
Passers-by fled the violence, as police and other emergency services arrived quickly and cordoned off the area. Forensic specialists were poring over the scene mid-morning.
Shabana Mahmood, who represents the area in the UK parliament for the main opposition Labour Party, described the events as "deeply concerning".
Local councillor Yvonne Mosquito, also of Labour, said the violence was "traumatic" for everyone involved.
Mosquito, a former city lord mayor, praised police for tackling so-called "black on black" violence in Birmingham in the early 2000s.
But she said there remained a real issue with social exclusion among younger people, including "county lines" drug dealing.
The Arcadian centre, where Birmingham Gay Village and Chinese Quarter meet, was vibrant and popular although there had been "a bit of trouble" previously, she told AFP.
LATEST AMONG STABBING INCIDENTS