The fatal stabbing of British lawmaker David Amess has been declared a terrorist incident, the Metropolitan Police has said.
The force said the investigation into the killing in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, on Friday is being led by counterterrorism policing.
In a statement, the Metropolitan Police said senior national coordinator for counterterrorism policing, deputy assistant commissioner Dean Haydon, had formally declared the incident as terrorism.
The early investigation has revealed “a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism,” police officials said.
Amess, the member of parliament for Southend West who had served since 1983, was a member of the Conservative Party. He died Friday after being stabbed several times while meeting with voters at Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea.
A 25-year-old man arrested at the scene on suspicion of murder is currently in custody at an Essex police station.
As part of the investigation, officers are currently carrying out searches at two addresses in the London area, police said.
Officials believe the man acted alone and are not seeking anyone else in connection with the matter at this time but inquiries into the circumstances of the incident are continuing.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson led the tributes to one of the “kindest, nicest, most gentle people in politics”. The 69-year-old was married with five children.
Amess is the second British member of parliament in just over five years to be killed. In 2016, Labour MP Jo Cox was shot and stabbed in her constituency by a far-right supporter.