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Thursday, September 23, 1999 Published at 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK


UK

Shot 'gunman' was carrying wood

The incident has been referred to the Police Complaints Authority

A suspected gunman shot dead by police in London was carrying a piece of wood in a plastic bag, the Police Complaints Authority has said.


The BBC's Tim Donovan reports: "The man was shot twice"
Armed officers were called to Hackney, east London, on Wednesday night after a man was reported carrying a gun in a blue bag.

Officers, believing they were under "immediate threat" from a man fitting the description, opened fire and killed him.

However no weapon was found following a search.

The PCA confirmed more than one officer had opened fire after police were called to Victoria Park Road at 1944 BST.

They had been told by a member of the public that the man had left the Alexandra pub in the road with what was thought to be a gun in his bag.

'Wooden object'

PCA deputy chair Molly Meacher, who was at the scene on Wednesday night, said: "After the incident it became apparent that the man had not been carrying a firearm.

"The plastic bag contained a wooden object.

"The investigation will examine exactly what was reported to the police and why, what the officers saw the man carrying, what actions were taken by the man and whether his actions justified the officers opening fire."

The man, who has been identified by the BBC as Henry Stanley, who lived locally, was fatally injured in the shooting and pronounced dead at the scene.

It was the first time officers from the Met have opened fire this year.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "A man seen fitting the description was challenged by officers searching the area.

"It appears the officers believed they were under immediate threat from the man, and a number of shots were fired by police.

"It is not known how many at this stage. The man, who is white, was pronounced dead at the scene."

Inquiry

As a matter of routine, the "principal officers" involved in the shooting will be removed from the firearms unit.

They will remain off the unit, but continue as serving officers, pending the conclusion of an investigation by Surrey police on behalf of the PCA, who were called in by the Met.

Ms Meacher agreed to the appointment of Surrey's Assistant Chief Constable Peter Fahy to be the senior investigating officer.

An investigation into the circumstances of the shooting is also being carried out by the Complaints Investigation Bureau of the Metropolitan Police.



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