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Monday, 16 July, 2001, 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK
Swordsman's mother defends son
Marie Kernan
Marie Kernan: Described her son as a gentle giant
The family of a schizophrenic man shot dead by police as he brandished a Samurai sword have denied he was a danger to the public.

Andrew Kernan, 37, was shot dead outside a pub in the Wavertree district of Liverpool after reportedly refusing requests to drop his weapon.

But his mother criticised Merseyside Police for the fatal shooting on Thursday last week, describing her son as a "gentle giant".

"You don't kill somebody with a mental illness," Marie Kernan said. "What sort of a society is that?


You don't kill somebody with a mental illness. What sort of a society is that?

Marie Kernan
She called for police to be armed with stun guns.

"I demand justice for Andrew, the gentle giant.

"He was a man - a beautiful man. I demand justice and I won't rest until I get an answer. Why was my son shot?"

The Police Complaints Authority is to oversee an investigation into Mr Kernan's death.

Police were called to the home of Mr Kernan, 37, after his family and psychiatric workers became concerned that he was extremely emotional.

Andrew Kernan
Andrew Kernan: Shot while brandishing a sword
He left the flat and was shot twice in the chest by armed officers around 2210BST as he wielded the sword outside The Wellington pub, after a failed attempt to subdue him with CS gas.

It was reported that officers had spent 25 minutes negotiating with Mr Kernan inside his home in Wellington Grove before he grabbed a sword and left the flat.

Mr Kernan was under the care of North Mersey Community NHS Trust, which had sent a psychiatric team to the flat he shared with his mother in the Wavertree district of the city.

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Mary Kernan, Andrew's mother
"My son was screaming for me"
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