Nottinghamshire Police said the motive of Tuesday morning attack in Nottingham remains unknown and they are “keeping an open mind” about the motive as they establish the facts.
The police force also confirmed that counter-terrorism officers have been involved in the investigation as armed police were seen conducting a raid at a property in the Ilkeston Road area of Nottingham.
The van used in the attack was found about a mile from the attack. The van was found on Bentinck Road about a mile to the north west of Milton Street, where three people were injured after being struck.
Some victims injured in the van attack were waiting at a bus stop, the leader of Nottingham City Council has told the BBC.
Two of the three people killed were 19-year-old students at the University of Nottingham.
One of them was identified as Barnaby Webber.
The university stated on Twitter: “We are shocked and devastated by the news and our thought are with those affected, their families and friends,” and directed its students to its well-being team for support.
Police believe the van used to attack members of the public was stolen from a 50-year-old man, the third victim of the attack, who was found dead on Magdala Road.
One man is in hospital in critical condition while two others are believed to have suffered minor injuries.
Appreciation shown for emergency service staff
East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) was among the emergency services responding to the incident. In a statement, they said: “EMAS has now stood down its major incident status and the majority of ambulance resources have been removed from incident scenes.”
Richard Henderson, East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust Chief Executive said: “The ongoing criminal investigation means we are not able to share further information at this time; however, we wish to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of those who died in this horrific incident, and our thoughts are with all who responded to help those involved.”
In a joint statement, chief executive Anthony May and chairman Nick Carver, bosses at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, offered “our thanks and admiration” to emergency service staff “for their swift response and professionalism at such a difficult time”.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also thanked emergency services “for their ongoing response to the shocking incident”.
All three Nottingham MPs said the city “has been devastated by the deaths”.
In a statement, Chief Constable Kate Meynell said: “As you all know, today there has been a shocking and tragic series of events which has led to the lives of three innocent people being taken and left another member of the public in a critical condition in hospital.
“My thoughts are with all the families affected by this horrific incident, and we are working extremely hard to understand exactly what has happened.
“I can tell you that a 31-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and remains in police custody.
“We are not looking for anyone else in connection with the attacks and I can reassure the public that it is safe to visit the city centre – though there may be some road restrictions as we continue to establish what has happened.
“We are keeping an ‘open mind’ and are working alongside Counter Terrorism Policing to establish the facts – as we would normally do in these types of circumstances.
“Officers have also carried out a number of searches at addresses across the city to gather evidence, but no further arrests have been made.
“A dedicated team of detectives is investigating the circumstances surrounding these incidents and will continue to gather evidence over the coming days.
“I want to thank those who live and work in our city for their patience and understanding in incredibly difficult circumstances. We will, of course, keep the public updated as soon as we are able to say more.”