West Mercia Police Could Be Investigated After M5 Bristol Shooting

29 September 2017, 13:24

M5 Shooting Bristol

The police watchdog is considering whether to investigate the West Mercia force in connection with a fatal shooting near the M5.

Officers received a report of a man pointing a gun at another motorist near junction 8 of the M5 at 8.30am on Wednesday.

A man died after officers from Avon and Somerset Police opened fire near junction 19 of the motorway, near Bristol, at about 9.30am.

West Mercia Police informed the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating, of the report.

A spokeswoman for the IPCC said: "We have received a referral from West Mercia Police in relation to a report they received from a member of the public prior to the incident near Portishead.

"We are assessing the referral and whether we should also investigate West Mercia Police actions."

A spokesman for West Mercia Police previously said it received a report of "a man in a vehicle, pointing a gun at another motorist".

"That was passed on to the central motorway police group (CMPG). We have informed the IPCC about this call," he said.

The CMPG is a group of traffic officers drawn from Staffordshire, West Mercia and West Midlands forces.

A spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Police said the force had been informed of the report by CMPG at about 8.40am.

"The facts have been reported to the IPCC, which is conducting an investigation into the fatal shooting on the M5 at Portishead," she added.

Avon and Somerset Police received calls from "concerned" people travelling on the M5 who reported seeing a man in a car with a handgun.

The vehicle left the motorway at junction 19 and officers stopped the car on the A369, known as the Portbury Hundred.

Shots were fired in an "incident involving police firearms" and a man died, a force spokeswoman said.

The force informed the IPCC of the incident and the watchdog launched an independent investigation.

What appeared to be a non-police issue firearm was found at the scene and will be examined by the IPCC.

No individual police officer was being investigated at this stage, IPCC commissioner Cindy Butts said.

Images of the scene showed what appeared to be a handgun on the roof of the red Suzuki Swift.

There were at least four bullet holes in the offside of the vehicle and the driver's side front window was smashed.

Blood and glass, as well as a sun hat, could be seen on the floor by the hatchback.

A post-mortem examination was due to take place on Thursday.

Witnesses previously described seeing police shoot into a stationary red Suzuki Swift that had been stopped by officers.

David Ellison told BBC Radio Bristol: "Ahead of me were police in the road.

"I saw them back off from a car and then they surrounded it. They maybe shot with handguns five, six, maybe 10 times.

"Then they dragged a man from the car to resuscitate him."

Frazer Phillips, from Bristol, wrote on the Hello Portishead Facebook page: "I was right next to it when it happened and heard about 4-5 shots."

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