Family of taxi driver who killed 12 say they have no clue what sparked his rampage

LONDON (AP) — The family of a taxi driver who killed 12 people including his twin brother in a shooting rampage in northern England said Sunday they had no clue what sparked his rampage.

Derrick Bird, 52, killed his brother David and a family lawyer before departing on a 45-mile rampage across a rural area of England Wednesday, targeting former workmates and strangers. Police said he killed 10 victims in a single hour, shooting many in the face.

Bird drove through narrow country lanes in his car to evade police, firing from the window as he passed victims. He fatally shot himself in remote woodland as officers closed in.

"We are utterly devastated about the death of our father Derrick Bird," his sons Graeme and Jamie Bird said in a statement, issued by local vicar, Rev. Jim Marshall.

"To us, he was the nicest man you could ever meet. He was a loving dad and recently became a grandfather," their statement read. "We would like to say that we do not know why our dad committed these horrific crimes. We are both mortified by these sad events."

Brian Bird, brother of Derrick and David, said in a second statement that the family was "extremely saddened."

"The loss of both my brothers is devastating. They were both very caring, family people," he said in the statement. "We cannot offer any reason why Derrick took it upon himself to commit these crimes. We are in shock and dismay."

A total of 11 people were seriously wounded during Bird's rampage across the northern county of Cumbria, about 350 miles (560 kilometers) northwest of London.

Mourners in northern England were holding a series of church services Sunday to remember the dead.

Police have said Bird was being investigated by tax officials prior to his killing spree, and may also have feuded with his family and colleagues.

Det. Chief Supt. Iain Goulding, the senior investigating officer, said on Saturday that police were reviewing Bird's finances, but warned officers "may never fully understand what could have driven Bird to commit such atrocities."

Rules on gun ownership were tightened after two massacres in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1987, gun enthusiast Michael Ryan killed 16 people in the English town of Hungerford. In 1996, Thomas Hamilton killed 16 children and a teacher at a primary school in Dunblane, Scotland.