Man shot on London Underground unconnected to bombing, says Scotland Yard

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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Scotland Yard issued a statement that Jean Charles de Menezes, the 27-year-old Brazilian electrician shot to death yesterday by police in a London Underground station was "not connected" to Thursday's bombings and called the incident "a tragedy". A day earlier, the police commissioner said the man was "directly linked" to Thursday's attacks.

The police statement said

"We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday 21st July 2005. For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets."

The man was followed when he left a flat that had been under surveillence. He did not obey instructions from police (not in uniform) as he ran onto a Tube train at the station. Eyewitnesses said he "was wearing a large coat, unusual for the time of year", but didn't seem to have "any guns or anything like that; I didn't see him carrying anything. I didn't even see a bag to be quite honest."

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."

The shooting is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police Service's Directorate of Professional Standards and the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which investigates all fatal police shootings.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke described the shooting of Mr Menezes as an "absolute tragedy" before going on to say "I hope [the family] understand the police were trying to do their very best under very difficult circumstances."

Alex Pereira, a cousin of Mr Menezes, also living in the UK, was interviewed by the BBC and said "Apologies are not enough. I believe my cousin's death was result of police incompetence." He also stated that he believed his cousin had been "a victim of government's mistakes".

Brazilian government reaction

The Brazilian Government "look forward to receiving the necessary explanation from the British authorities on the circumstances which led to this tragedy" and have dispatched their foreign minister Celso Amorim to London in order to get an explanation from the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Mr Amorim said "The Brazilian government and the public are shocked and perplexed that a peaceful and innocent person should have been killed." Going on to say "Brazil is totally in solidarity with Britain in the fight against terror but people should be cautious to avoid the loss of innocent life."