SEASCALE, England - A taxi driver drove his vehicle on a shooting spree across a tranquil stretch of northwest England yesterday, methodically killing 12 people and wounding 25 others before turning the gun on himself, officials said.
The rampage in the county of Cumbria was Britain's deadliest mass shooting since 1996 and it jolted a country where handguns are banned and multiple shootings rare.
The body of the suspected gunman, Derrick Bird, 52, was found in woods near Boot, a hamlet popular with hikers and vacationers in England's hilly, scenic Lake District. Police said two weapons were recovered from the scene.
Three of the wounded were in critical condition in a hospital. The shootings had "shocked the people of Cumbria and around the country to the core," Police Deputy Chief Constable Stuart Hyde said.
Police said it was too early to say what the killer's motive was or whether the shootings had been random. Some reports said Bird had quarreled with fellow cab drivers.
Peter Leder, a taxi driver who knew Bird, said he had seen the gunman Tuesday and was struck by Bird's departing words.
"When he left he said, 'See you Peter, but I won't see you again,' " Leder told Channel 4 News.
The first shootings were reported in the coastal town of Whitehaven, about 350 miles northwest of London. Witnesses said the dead there included two of Bird's fellow cabbies.
Police warned residents to stay indoors as they tracked the gunman. Witnesses described seeing the gunman driving around shooting from the window of his car.
Victims died in Seascale and Egremont, near Whitehaven, and in Gosforth, where a farmer's son was shot dead in a field. Workers at the nearby Sellafield nuclear processing plant were ordered to stay inside while the gunman was on the loose.