Eyewitnesses have told of the horrifying scenes in Woolwich, south London, as two men hacked to death a man in a Help for Heroes charity T-shirt in broad daylight.
The victim, said by the local MP to be a serving soldier, was slaughtered in a bloody attack in John Wilson Street, witnesses said. Unconfirmed reports said the victim was a father of two.
The attack began when a blue Vauxhall veered into the victim on the pavement, they said. The assailants jumped out of the car and launched a frenzied assault, hacking and stabbing with weapons variously described as machetes, meat cleavers and butcher's knives.
The body was dragged to the road where it was dumped. One eyewitness said it was like "a scene from a horror film".
Another witness claimed one attacker then told passengers on a bus to take pictures of him.
Armed police raced to the scene and fired six rounds, said a Scotland Yard spokesman.
An eyewitness, who gave his name only as James, told LBC radio that two men in their mid-20s attacked a slightly younger man.
They were just animals
James spoke of hearing an "almighty scream".
"These two guys were crazy, they were just animals," he said.
"Then we saw two big butcher's knives - they were hacking at this poor guy. They were just chopping and hacking.
"My partner got out of the car and shouted 'stop, stop'. One of the black guys went into the car and into a bag and pointed a gun at us. He shouted at us: 'Get in the car, get in the car.'
A fellow witness was returning home from visiting family nearby. Graham Wilders told the BBC: "I thought they were tyring to resuscitate him. But they were attacking him. Suddenly a load of schoolchildren turned up and I shouted at the teachers: 'Get those children inside!'
"One of the guys with the handgun was dressed all in black and with a bobble hat on. He was way over 6ft tall. He was waving [the gun] about. Then they charged at the police with machetes and guns. I don't think they cared.
"We got the phone and called 999 and said you've got to get armed response here."
James told of what happened during the time between the end of the attack and when police arrived
"They dragged the poor guy - he was obviously dead, there was no way a human could take what they did to him. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there.
"They were standing there waving the gun about. Soon as the police arrived, the tall guy charged at the police and the other guy shot at the police.
"I'd say they were in their mid-20s."
Another witness told LBC how he heard gunshots and rushed from his van to the scene a short distance away.
"One of the black males were sitting upright on a trolley and receiving treatment," he said. "There was a white male being taken on a stretcher looking in a very bad way.
"We heard gunfire and we immediately pulled over and ran to the bottom of the road."