Suspect in U.K. pol's murder linked to U.S. neo-Nazi group?

Link between U.K. politician's murder and U.S... 02:34

LONDON -- A member of Britain's opposition Labour Party who had served her West Yorkshire constituency for just one year in Parliament was murdered on a street Thursday, seemingly by a man with links to far-right political groups and a history of mental health problems.

As CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reports, Member of Parliament Jo Cox devoted her life to public service, and she was killed doing what she loved; helping her community.

British lawmaker assassinated 01:50

A purse and a pair of shoes were all that was left in the middle of the street where Cox was brutally attacked.

Not far from the scene of the grisly murder, and just minutes after, police tackled the suspected gunman -- identified locally as 52-year-old Tommy Mair. They retrieved a gun and a knife.

Witnesses claim Mair rushed Cox shouting "Britain first!" -- the name of a British anti-immigrant right wing political party that describes itself as "a patriotic political party and street defense organization."

Other witnesses said Cox appeared to have become caught in a fight between Mair and another man.

Cox was shot and stabbed as she left a meeting with constituents at a local library.

Her murder comes on the homestretch of a bitter referendum campaign over whether Britain should remain in the European Union. She was a firm supporter of the "Remain" campaign, urging Britons to vote to stay a part of the Union.

Elected to Parliament last year, she was an outspoken advocate for refugees from war-torn Syria.

"These children have been exposed to things no child should ever witness," she once said on the floor of Parliament. "I know I personally would risk life and limb to get my two precious babies out of that hell hole."

jocoxgettyimages-540767844.jpg
Flowers surround a picture of Jo Cox during a vigil in Parliament Square, June 16, 2016 in London, United Kingdom. Getty

About 200 miles away from the scene of the murder, a memorial grew by the River Thames in London, around the houseboat Cox lived in with her husband and two young children.

Cox filled her scant down-time volunteering, including appearances at a recent cancer research fundraiser.

Police are not saying anything about a possible motive, but on Thursday an American non-profit that tracks hate groups reported Mair supported a neo-Nazi organization in the U.S., and purchased a manual on how to make guns and explosives in 1999.

Mair's brother has said he had a history of mental illness.

Cox's husband Brendan believed she was targeted for her politics. "We must all unite," he wrote, "to fight against the hatred that killed her."

Local media reports said Cox had received threatening emails over the last few months and police were considering giving her a security detail when she was killed.

She would have turned 42 next week.

Vigliotti says the killing has a shocked a nation that has some of the strictest gun regulations in the world.

The U.K. banned semi-automatic weapons completely in 1996, after 16 children were gunned down in a school.

To put it into perspective, in Britain there are reported to be around seven firearms per 100 people. In the U.S., the figure is believed to be about 101 firearms per 100 people.