UW-Madison professor in London at time of attacks speaks to News 3

UW-Madison professor in London at time of attacks speaks to News 3
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News 3 spoke with a UW-Madison professor working in London Wednesday, the same day a man killed four people , including a police officer, outside the U.K. Parliament.

Tom Rutherford, who is a professor in the UW-Madison School of Agriculture and Applied Economics, said he was not at the site of the attacks and was unhurt. He was in a nearby building, however, and said he noticed a tense atmosphere in the city.

“When you’re walking through London and you see a police officer with a gun, it really takes you aback,” Rutherford said. “It’s not something you see that often.”

Rutherford has been in London since Sunday, working with the British foreign ministry, helping to develop models for Britain’s exit from the European Union. He said his building, located in London’s Whitehall road, was eventually evacuated.

“Basically the ministry periodically announced what was going on, they had to shut down doors to different parts, then after a while — around 5:00 — they told everyone time to go home,” Rutherford said. “They basically evacuated the building at that point.”

British authorities have launched a counter-terrorism investigation into the attacks.

“I don’t know anything about the event, whether this was actually motivated by that objective,” Rutherford said. “It’s really kind of sad.”

Rutherford described the attacks as an unfortunate sign of the times.

“It’s another one of these events that remind us that we live in the 21st century,” he said.

According to UW-Madison, 127 students were in London, taking part in its study-abroad program, at the time of the attacks. University officials said they did not believe any were directly affected by the attacks as of Wednesday night.