Man kills assistant at beauty counter then shoots himself

Helen McCormack
Wednesday 14 September 2005 00:00

Two people were killed yesterday evening in a shooting incident at Harvey Nichols department store in London.

Customers were still in the store, in Knightsbridge, west London, and witnessed the shooting of the man and a woman in the perfumery section on the ground floor.

Police said the man, aged about 30 and the woman who was in her 20s, were pronounced dead at the scene after the shooting at around 7.45pm.

There were no reports of anyone else being injured and a spokeswoman from Scotland Yard said they were not looking for anyone in connection with the shootings. It is understood that the man and the woman may have been romantically linked, and that the man may have shot the woman before turning his weapon on himself.

There were reports last night that the woman had been a Harvey Nichols employee, working on one of the beauty product counters, and the man was an ex-boyfriend who had previously worked as a security guard at the store.

A shopper who had been going into the store when the shots began said: " I saw a barrage of people coming towards me then there was 'boom, boom, boom, boom', four gunshots. I thought people had taken over the store or something."

He described how he escaped into the basement, and alerted staff there was a man with a gun in the store, but he later went back on to the shop floor and saw the man's body.

"His face was bloody and his eyes were closed," he said. Shoppers were looking on and some were crying, he added.

Other witnesses described seeing the man, his face smeared with blood, being dragged into the corner of the perfumery section on the ground floor of the store.

One told Sky News that it appeared he had shot himself in the head.

Last night, one of the security guards working at the store, which attracts international tourists as well as shoppers from across the country, said there were a "considerable number" of people still in the shop when the shots were fired.

The guard, who did not want to give his name, told The Independent: " They have closed the area off now and there are police everywhere. Everyone is saying that it looked like a love feud.

"It looked like they had once been boyfriend and girlfriend, but had broken up," he added.

Harvey Nichols' fifth floor restaurant, café and bar were open as usual after the shooting. A member of the bar staff said he was unaware that the shooting had taken place, and said the restaurant was enjoying a busy trade.

A spokesman for the 80-seat restaurant said service had not been affected by the incident. "We are open as normal," he said.

Another customer who had been dining in the restaurant told Sky News that they had heard a bang but thought it was "part of the clutter, the usual noises, of a restaurant or bar".

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