22 July 2005

SHOOT TO KILL: Man shot dead at tube station

Guardian

Staff and agencies
Friday July 22, 2005


The scene outside Stockwell tube station in London after a man was shot dead by police. Photograph: Yui Mok/PA

Police today shot a man dead at Stockwell tube station in south London.

Scotland Yard said: "We can confirm that just after 10am armed officers entered Stockwell tube station. A man was challenged by officers and subsequently shot. London ambulance service attended the scene. He was pronounced dead at the scene."

A witness described the man being "shot dead" in front of him as an officer "unloaded five shots" from a pistol. Another witness said he heard were three shots.

Passenger Mark Whitby said he was sat on a Northern Line train when three plainclothes officers ran on in "hot pursuit" of an Asian man.

He told BBC News: "I heard lots of shouts of 'get down, get down'. I looked to my right and I saw an Asian man run on the train. As he ran on he half tripped."

He said the man was being pursued by three plainclothes officers who ran on just a few feet behind him.

The witness said one officer brought out a pistol in his left hand and "unloaded five shots into him". He said the shooting happened "five yards" away from him.

Asked what condition the man was in, Mr Whitby said: "He's dead ... I've just seen a man shot dead, I was distraught."

There was speculation the man may have been a would-be suicide bomber who had been followed by police. Mr Whitby said he did not see a bag, but the man had worn a bulky winter-style coat, and there may have been "something underneath it".

He said he then left the train where he saw 10 to 15 police officers armed with handguns and sub machine guns on the platform.

He said: "One of the police officers was holding a black automatic pistol in his left hand. They held it down to him and unloaded five shots into him. I saw it. He's dead, five shots, he's dead."

Journalist Chris Martin said he was waiting on the northbound Northern line platform at Stockwell station and a train had pulled in when several men burst on to the platform about 20 yards from him.

"There was a lot of shouting, I thought it was football fans or something," he said.

"There was obviously some sort of altercation going on, and then they came flying on to the platform and these guys just threw this man into the open doors of the train.

"Then I heard shots, I thought it was three but someone else said five. It sounded like a silencer gun going off, and then there was blind panic, with people shouting and screaming and just running away.

"I didn't actually see the gun, but I heard this 'bang, bang, bang'.

Another witness, Christopher Scaglione, 35, a fashion designer, was on a Victoria Line tube train shortly before the shooting.

He said: "The train didn't stop at Vauxhall and so I got out at Stockwell. I was just on my way out when I heard at first a little bang, not like a bomb more like a gun, and then people were shouting. People then started to run and I heard two or three more bangs like people shooting."

Another witness, Chris Wells, 28, said: "There were at least 20 of them [officers] and they were carrying big black guns ... The next thing I saw was this guy jump over the barriers and the police officers were chasing after him and everyone was just shouting 'get out, get out!"'

Today a large area around Stockwell tube station, which is an interchange for the Northern and Victoria lines, was cordoned off and traffic approaching the area ground to a halt.

An ambulance and several police cars were also at the scene and sirens were heard blaring in every direction.

Tube services on the Victoria and Northern lines were suspended following a request by the police, London Underground said.

The shooting comes as police are seeking four would-be suicide bombers who yesterday failed in an attempt to reproduce the carnage in the capital caused on July 7 when four suicide bombers murdered 52 people.

So far, there has been no official linking of today's shooting to the investigation into the terror attacks of yesterday or July 7.

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