American among victims in UK stabbing attack

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A Philadelphia man who moved to the United Kingdom more than a decade ago was among the victims of a stabbing in Reading, England, over the weekend that authorities are treating a terrorist attack.

The Associated Press reported that a Libyan national with a history of mental health issues was in custody and believed to be the lone suspect in the Saturday evening attack that killed Joe Ritchie-Bennett, 39, and two others.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Ritchie-Bennett is the brother of a city police precinct captain.

“I love him. I always have. I always will,” Capt. Robert Ritchie told the newspaper. “He was a great guy. He was four years younger than me. I had a paper route at 12 and he helped me every day. I used to buy him something every two weeks to thank him.”

“We used to play together every day. We rode bikes together every day. Our family is heartbroken and beside ourselves,” he added.

Ritchie-Bennett and one of the other two victims were supporters of a local Reading LGBTQ charity, which released a statement about the attack.

“Their loss is a tragedy to so many people,” said Mark Cooper, director of Reading Pride and a friend of Ritchie-Bennett and another victim, James Furlong. “They should be remembered as extremely friendly gentlemen who were always fun, engaging and a pleasure to be around. They were their own little support network for anybody to offload their troubles and concerns, and gave great advice.”

Reading is located about 40 miles west of London.

Tags LGBTQ libya London Philadelphia Stabbing terrorist attack UK

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