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2001: Family demand inquiry into police shooting
The family of a mentally ill man shot dead by police in Liverpool last night has demanded a public inquiry.

The dead man's mother, Marie Kernan, 59, said: "You don't kill somebody with a mental illness. I demand justice for Andrew and won't rest until I get an answer.

"Andrew never hurt a fly. He was never involved in violence."

Mrs Kernan called the police and a psychiatric medical team to her home in Wavertree at about 2130 BST because her schizophrenic son was being aggressive.

I demand justice for Andrew and won't rest until I get an answer
Marie Kernan
At least four police officers from the Merseyside force went to the flat but Andrew Kernan ran into the street wielding a Samurai sword.

Dressed only in pyjamas, Mr Kernan slashed off the wing mirror of one of the police cars.

After negotiating with him for 25 minutes and using CS gas officers fired two shots.

The second bullet hit Mr Kernan in the chest and he died on the way to hospital.

Assistant Chief Constable of Merseyside Police Mike Tonge defended his officers' actions. He said: "Mr Kernan continued to cause a serious risk to the public and police officer safety, which ultimately led to the discharge of a firearm."

Mr Kernan's uncle Ted Devlin said: "Andrew was a strong lad but surely there were enough police to overpower him. If they had kept him in the flat he would have been alive today."

Neighbours reported seeing Mr Kernan, 37, waving the sword round his head and heard police repeatedly telling him to put it down.

Frightened staff at a local pub, the Wellington, locked its doors when they heard the shouting and saw the swordsman approaching.

Mr Tonge expressed his deepest sympathies to Mr Kernan's family and said the incident had been passed to the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).

Andrew Kernan worked as a gardener and had suffered from schizophrenia for 15 years.

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Photo of Andrew Kernan who was killed by police marksmen
Andrew Kernan was shot after running amok with a Samurai sword


In Context
The PCA appointed Greater Manchester Police to carry out an independent inquiry.

The Chief Inspector of Merseyside Police Norman Bettison took the unusual step of sending a hand-written letter to Marie Kernan with his apologies.

Home Secretary David Blunkett was horrified by the shooting of Andrew Kernan and demanded a review of how armed police are used.

The Home Office wants police to investigate the use of stun guns as Mr Blunkett was keen to find a third way between batons and guns.

Mersey Care NHS Trust found Mr Kernan received appropriate level of psychiatric care after an internal inquiry published in January 2002.

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