Eyewitnesses described a brutal attack in which two men approached the victim with knives and guns.
"They were hacking at this poor guy, literally," said one witness, named only as James. "They were hacking at him, chopping him, cutting him."
"These two guys were crazed," he said, according to the Guardian. "They were just animals. They dragged him from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road and left his body there."
A spokeswoman for MP Nick Raynsford said the dead soldier was stationed at Woolwich barracks. Those reports have been unconfirmed by the Ministry of Defense.
"Two men, who we believe from early reports to have been carrying weapons, were shot by police, said Metropolitan police Commander Simon Letchford in a statement. "They were taken to separate London hospitals, they are receiving treatment for their injuries."
The British Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre has raised the terrorism threat level to "substantial," the third of five possible levels, and Home Secretary Theresa May called a meeting of the government's emergency response committee, Cobra.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who was in France for a meeting with French President Francois Hollande and planned to stay in Paris overnight, said he would return to London Wednesday.
PM: "I have been briefed by the Home Secretary on #Woolwich shooting and I will return to London tonight after meeting Hollande"— UK Prime Minister (@Number10gov) May 22, 2013
Eyewitnesses described the two suspects as standing around as if they hoped to "be on TV or something." ITV obtained footage of one of the suspects, with bloodied hands, holding a knife.
"We swear by Almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you," the man says in the video. "The only reasons we have done this is because Muslims are dying every day."
"This British soldier is an eye for an eye a tooth for tooth. We apologise that women had to see this today but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government. They don't care about you."
This afternoon's attack in Woolwich is a sickening deluded and unforgivable act of violence. My thoughts are with the victim and his family— Boris Johnson (@MayorofLondon) May 22, 2013