Criminal Justice

Will Dispute May Have Sparked Slayings of Lawyer and 11 Others; Another 25 Wounded


A dispute with his twin brother over a family will may have sparked a taxi driver’s shooting spree yesterday in a quiet corner of England.

The twin, David Bird, and family solicitor Kevin Commons, 60, of Kevin J. Commons & Co. were reportedly among the first people shot to death by Derrick Bird. Authorities say the 52-year-old slaughtered a total of 12 of his Cumbria neighbors before he was found dead with a shotgun and a rifle fitted with a telescopic sight, an apparent suicide, according to CNN and the London Times.

Fellow taxi drivers and complete strangers were also among his victims, who included another 25 individuals who were wounded by Derrick Bird, reports the Times. Three survivors are in critical condition, and still more individuals spoke of near-misses. One woman told the newspaper she ducked as Bird pointed a gun at her and fired and felt a bullet brush past the ponytail on her head.

Other news accounts say 11 individuals were wounded.

David Bird, who was found dead in his bed at home in Lamplugh, and Commons apparently may have been slain several hours before the other victims, according to the Times.

The BBC News says David Bird was his twin’s first victim, followed by Commons. The lawyer was found, shot to death, in his home driveway in Frizington, and Derrick Bird had been seen outside the Commons home earlier in the day.

Colleague Marcus Nickson, who called Commons his best friend, said “We are all absolutely devastated. Kevin was a great man, a great lawyer and a very considerate man,” recounts the Mirror, relying on information from the Whitehaven News.

The first slayings initially reported to police yesterday were of taxi drivers in Whitehaven.

Some 100 police officers are now investigating 30 crime scenes.

A Telegraph article provides more details about those who were slain.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Seeming Case-Related Slayings This Week: 3 Judges, 2 Clerks, 1 Lawyer, 11 Others”

Updated at 3:10 p.m. to link to subsequent ABAJournal.com post.

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