17th Sep, 2019

No firearms found when police shot dead man in armed raid, watchdog says

Felix Nobes 8th Jan, 2019 Updated: 9th Jan, 2019

NO FIREARMS were found when police shot dead a man in an armed raid in Coventry, a watchdog says.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) also confirmed Sean Fitzgerald, 31, was killed by a ‘single gunshot’.

A post-mortem examination was carried out yesterday (Monday, January 7) at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW).

The West Midlands Police operation took place at a property in Burnaby Road, Coventry, at around 6.20pm last Friday (January 4).

An IOPC spokesperson said: “Our investigators were immediately sent to the scene and attended the police post-incident procedure after we were notified by the force.

“We oversaw forensic examinations, carried out house-to-house enquiries, and were also present during a further search at the property on Saturday. No firearms were recovered from the scene.

“We have now verified that a single round was discharged by a firearms officer.

“Mr Fitzgerald was shot as he emerged from the rear of the property while other officers were gaining entry at the front.

“His death was pronounced a short time later.

“HM Coroner has been informed and an inquest will open on Thursday, January 10.

“The evidence indicates the operation involved the execution of a warrant by the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (ROCU) and West Midlands Police in support of a Warwickshire Police investigation.

“ROCU is a collaboration between the police forces of Staffordshire, West Midlands, West Mercia and Warwickshire to fight organised crime across the region.

“Body worn footage from a number of officers continues to be reviewed and initial witness statements will be taken from all the police officers who went to the property as part of the operation, including the officer who discharged his firearm.”

IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell said: “My thoughts are with Mr Fitzgerald’s family and friends at what must be an incredibly difficult time for them and all involved.

“Our investigation will focus on the actions and decision-making of the officers involved at the scene and the intelligence provided for the planning and carrying out of the operation.

“At this stage, we have confirmed Mr Fitzgerald was shot once in the chest by a firearms officer.

“I would like to reassure people this is an independent investigation and we will thoroughly examine all the circumstances and report our findings.

“I would request that everyone shows patience while the investigation progresses.

“Our investigators have spoken to people in Burnaby Road but I would urge anyone who has information about the incident, and in particular any mobile or other footage, to come forward to assist our investigation.

“We have met Mr Fitzgerald’s family and have assured them that they will be kept updated.”

Anyone with information should contact the IOPC at BurnabyRoadIncident@policeconduct.gov.uk or call 0800 151 0020.

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