Hotel Mgr: London Attacker Was ‘Normal, In Fact, Friendly’ Night Before

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LONDON (CBSMiami/AP) — The manager of a hotel where the London attacker stayed the night before he plowed his 4×4 into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and then stabbed a police officer at Parliament says the guy seemed unusually outgoing and mentioned details about his family, including having a sick father.

gettyimages 657205530 Hotel Mgr: London Attacker Was Normal, In Fact, Friendly Night Before

Flowers are seen on Westminster Bridge, one of the scenes of the March 22 terror attack, close to the Houses of Parliament in central London on March 24, 2017.

“He was normal, in fact, friendly, because we spent possibly five or 10 minutes talking to him about his background and where he came from,” Sabeur Toumi told Sky News on Friday.

Police raided the room at the Preston Park Hotel in Brighton after the attack, searching for clues about Khalid Masood, who was identified Friday by his prior name, Adrian Russell Ajao.

Toumi said Masood checked in under his own name and mentioned having a couple of children, as well as troubles with an ailing father. Among the items seized were the trouser press and the toilet paper holder.

Two more “significant arrests” have been made in connection with the Westminster attack, in central and northern England, according to London’s top anti-terror officer.

Nine people are currently in custody, while one has been released on bail.

Counter-terror chief Mark Rowley on Friday also identified the latest victim, who died in the hospital on Thursday, as 75-year-old Leslie Rhodes from Streatham, south London.

Masood drove his car into crowds of people on Westminster Bridge on Wednesday afternoon, killing three and wounding some 50, before stabbing a police officer to death at the Houses of Parliament. He was shot dead by police.

Keith Palmer, the policeman stabbed to death in the Westminster attack on Wednesday, left a lasting warm impression on the Thorogoods on that day last October, as he willingly posed with the family for a picture. Parliament, the building that Palmer was guarding when he was murdered, was in the background.

In a post on his Facebook page, Andrew Thorogood recalled how happy Palmer was “to pose with us for a photo once he learned that we had travelled all the way from Alice Springs.”

Describing Palmer as “a genuinely nice bloke,” Thorogood recalled that the officer “said he would love to visit Australia with his family one day.”

Thorogood added that “he was happy to chat and smile for a photo … whilst still remaining vigilant and carrying out his duties as a police officer.”

Utah native Kurt W. Cochran was the lone American killed. His wife, Melissa Cochran, was among dozens who were injured, according to a statement issued Thursday by the family through a Mormon church spokesman. The couple was visiting Melissa Cochran’s parents who were serving a church mission in London.

The attacker was born in southeastern England and had most recently been living in the central city of Birmingham.

(TM and © Copyright 2017 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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