Armed police shoot man dead on London Underground

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Friday, July 22, 2005

The location of Stockwell on the Northern line, with the 21st July explosions also marked

London Metropolitan Police have confirmed that armed police officers shot and killed a man at Stockwell Underground station just after 10 a.m. BST this morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of London Metropolitan, told a press conference this afternoon that the man was challenged by police officers (not in uniform) but refused to follow instructions. Some witnesses claim he did not appear to be carrying any arms, but wore a heavy coat that may have concealed a weapon. One passenger, Anthony Larkin, said the man appeared to be wearing a “bomb belt”.

Mark Whitby, apparently the closest eye witness said; "He half-tripped, was half-pushed to the floor. The policeman nearest to me had the black automatic pistol in his left hand, he held it down to the guy and unloaded five shots into him."

Police have revealed that the shooting was connected with yesterday's attempted attacks, but but have not confirmed him to be one of the four bombing suspects. Police sources have indicated that the man who was shot had been followed covertly, and after he was confronted he ran off and was followed on foot by up to twenty police from street level into the Underground station.

London Underground suspended some services on the Victoria and Northern lines, citing a request by the police. The Northern line was then completely suspended for a short time mid-afternoon after a security alert at Mornington Crescent Station.

The London Ambulance Service have dispatched ambulances and the air ambulance to the scene. The Metropolitan Police have cordoned off a 200 metre perimeter around the station.

Eyewitness accounts

Passenger Briony Coetsee said: "We were on the Tube and then we suddenly heard someone say 'get out, get out' and then we heard gunshots."

Mark Whitby, who was sitting just five metres from the incident, told BBC News: "I saw an Asian [of South Asian origin] guy run onto the train hotly pursued by three plain-clothes police officers. One of them was carrying a black handgun - it looked like an automatic - they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him. He was wearing a large coat, unusual for the time of year."

“As the man got on the train I looked at his face. He looked from left to right, but he basically looked like a cornered rabbit, like a cornered fox. He looked absolutely petrified. He sort of tripped but they were hotly pursuing him and couldn't have been more than two or three feet behind him at this time. He half-tripped, was half-pushed to the floor. The policeman nearest to me had the black automatic pistol in his left hand, he held it down to the guy and unloaded five shots into him. I didn’t see any guns or anything like that; I didn’t see him carrying anything. I didn’t even see a bag to be quite honest."

Reports from ITV News suggested that the person shot was another suicide bomber. Sky News (web) reported the same, [1] but later reported that "initial examinations [...] did not discover any explosives on the suspect." [2]

Meanwhile, The Times reported that police believed the man to be one of the would-be bombers who escaped after the 21 July attacks. BBC News reported that the man had been under surveillance as a result of CCTV footage from the 21 July crime scenes.

BBC in London alerts: At-a-glance reports: Police say the man shot at Stockwell had been followed by surveillance officers because he had emerged from a house linked to the investigation into Thursday's blasts.

Passenger Anthony Larkin told BBC News the man appeared to be wearing a "bomb belt with wires coming out".