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The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
"Andrew Kernan was shot dead in the street just yards away from his home"
 real 56k

Friday, 13 July, 2001, 11:16 GMT 12:16 UK
Sword-wielding man shot dead by police
The Wavertree area in Liverpool
The man was shot dead in Liverpool's Wavertree area
Police marksmen have shot dead a psychiatric patient who ran amok with a sword outside a pub in a busy Liverpool shopping area.

Officers, including an armed response team, attended an address in Wavertree just after 2130BST on Thursday, following reports of a man in "an agitated and distressed condition".

The man, named as 37-year-old Andrew Kernan, left the house wearing pyjamas and wielding a sword after negotiations failed.

Police tried to disarm him using CS spray, but when this failed armed officers shot him twice in the chest.


Mr Kernan continued to cause serious risk to the public and police officer safety

Mike Tonge
police spokesman
He was pronounced dead on arrival at Royal Liverpool University Hospital.

The shooting took place outside the Wellington pub, where about 30 people were taking part in a quiz night.

Owner Brian William said the swordsman had tried to force his way into the bar.

"Our son-in-law Jimmy, who lives with us, came down the stairs saying he had seen a chap waving a sword around," he said.

"He was shouting to bolt all the doors and we managed to get them shut. I think he basically shut the door in the guy's face and stopped him getting in.

"A few minutes later we heard two shots ring out. I don't know if there were any warnings given because it was difficult to hear."

Crime scene in Liverpool
Police have sealed off the scene of the shooting
Mr Kernan, who was single and lived with his mother, was under the care of North Mersey Community NHS Trust, which had sent a psychiatric team to the house.

Police said they attended the Wellington Grove address after trust workers and family members called for help in dealing with Mr Kernan.

Four armed officers, a number of unarmed officers and dog patrols were sent.

'Safety risk'

Assistant Chief Constable Mike Tonge said officers spent 25 minutes in the house attempting to "defuse the situation and build up a rapport", but this failed and Mr Kernan left with a sword.

"Further attempts were made to defuse the situation, with the use of CS incapacitant spray, which again proved unsuccessful.

"Mr Kernan continued to cause serious risk to the public and police officer safety, which ultimately led to the discharge of a firearm to ensure public safety."

Rules of engagement for armed police (ACPO guidelines)
Must identify themselves and declare intent to fire (unless this risks serious harm)
Usually trained to aim for the torso, to incapacitate and for greater accuracy
Should reassess situation after each shot
He declined to say how Mr Kernan managed to leave with a sword, and would not reveal whether one or two officers had fired the shots.

He said using firearms had been a "difficult operational decision", but was balanced against the risk to the public and police.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) provides guidelines covering the rules of engagement for armed officers, but each force decides its own operational policy.

Police sealed off the area with a green tarpaulin and blocked nearby roads, as officers carried out house-to-house inquiries and forensic experts examined the scene.

They are appealing for witnesses.

Independent inquiry

Mr Tonge said: "This is an isolated and extremely rare incident, which we have voluntarily referred to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA)".

An independent investigation into the fatal shooting, the first in the force's history, will be conducted by Greater Manchester Police under PCA supervision.

All four armed officers involved will remain on duty but will not take part in firearms-related matters while it is investigated.

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