Sir David Amess, a Conservative MP from Essex, died after being stabbed multiple times while meeting with his constituents at a church on Friday.

According to police, the stabbing of a long-serving member of Parliament was a terrorist attack, and the attacker acted alone.

The deadly attack on Amess, 69, occurred at a Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, a town about 40 miles (62 kilometers) east of London, around lunchtime on Friday, Oct. 15. Shortly after that, police said a 25-year-old man was arrested at the scene, and a knife was discovered, AP reports.

The early investigation into the assassination of Amess “has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism,” the Metropolitan Police said in a statement released early Saturday.

A government source told BBC that the man arrested was a British national with Somali heritage.

“The investigation is in its very early stages,” Essex Police Chief Constable Ben-Julian Harrington said. “It will be for investigators to determine whether or not this is a terrorist incident.”

Boris Johnson, the Conservative Prime Minister, said he and his Cabinet were “deeply shocked and heart-stricken.”

“David was a man who believed passionately in this country and in its future, and we’ve lost today a fine public servant and a much-loved friend and colleague,” Johnson said.

Sir David, 69, had been a member of Parliament since 1983 and was the father of five children. Following the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016, he is the second serving MP to be assassinated in the last five years.

Parliament’s flags were also lowered to half-mast in tribute to Sir David.

“This is an incident that will send shockwaves across the parliamentary community and the whole country,” House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle said. “In the coming days we will need to discuss and examine MPs’ security and any measures to be taken, but for now, our thoughts and prayers are with David’s family, friends and colleagues.”

It stirred up concerns about the dangers that politicians face in their efforts to represent citizens. When British politicians meet with their constituents, they are rarely protected by the police.

The Metropolitan Police’s specialist Counter Terrorism Command will lead the investigation into the attack, which will establish whether it was a terrorist attack.

Amess received tributes from both sides of the political aisle, as well as from the community he had served for decades. At a vigil held at a church in Leigh-on-Sea, locals paid respect to him.

“He carried that great East London spirit of having no fear and being able to talk to people and the level they’re at,” the Rev. Jeffrey Woolnaugh remarked at the vigil. “Not all politicians, I would say, are good at that.”

Sir David, who represented Southend West, was holding a constituency meeting at Belfairs Methodist Church in Eastwood Road North, where people could visit their MP and discuss their concerns.

Essex Police Chief Constable BJ Harrington said officers responded to reports of a stabbing soon after 12:05 BST and found Sir David with multiple injuries within minutes.

Harrington added police and paramedics “worked extremely hard,” but had failed to save him.

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