Staci Martin said she was visiting London for the first time over spring break when she stumbled upon the 48-year-old officer wearing a “funny hat,” she told WPTV.
“I see his hat and I’m like, ‘I have to take a picture of him with his hat,” she told the station, noting that the attacks occurred less than an hour after the photo was taken. “We got in an Uber not even 15 seconds later, we turned to the corner and this guy came up to the window and was like, ‘there was a shooting, there was a shooting.”
Palmer was among four victims killed in the deadly car and knife attack outside U.K. Parliament. The assailant — identified by Scotland Yard as U.K. native Khalid Masood — careened through the area at about 2:40 p.m. local time, hitting dozens of pedestrians before crashing into the gate outside the Palace of Westminster.
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He got out of the vehicle and stabbed Palmer before being killed by guards, authorities said. Scotland Yard is calling the incident terrorism.
Martin said she saw Palmer’s picture in media after the attack and couldn’t believe her eyes.
“They put his picture up and I said, ‘I think that’s the guy’ and my husband and daughter thought I was crazy,” she told WPTV. “We just couldn’t believe it.”
In the photo, Martin is shown smiling wide while Palmer, who appeared to be on duty at the time, gave a small smirk.
She wrote of the photo in a Facebook post, according to WFTS.
“At 1:52 p.m., we were walking passed Parliament and I saw an officer. I liked his funny hat so I asked him if we could take a picture … He was very polite,” she wrote.
“At 2:40 he was fatally stabbed by the terrorist and died leaving behind a wife and children.”
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Prime Minister May said the attacker was British-born and known to authorities, the Associated Press reports.
In the wake of the incident, authorities arrested eight people in raids around Britain, according to CNN. Their connection to the attack was not immediately clear.
Martin told WFTS that she is shocked by the timing of the events.
“You think if I had only been there a half an hour later in the exact spot,” she said. “You can call it God or fate or whatever you want to call it, it’s a little bit surreal for sure.”