London Police: Subway Shooting Not Connected to Attacks
Saturday, July 23, 2005; 12:57 PM
LONDON, July 23 -- Police announced Saturday that the man officers shot dead on a London subway car Friday morning was "not connected" with the bombing incidents of the day before.
"We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday 21st July 2005," police said in a statement.
"For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets," the police said.
"The man emerged from a block of flats in the Stockwell area that were under police surveillance as part of the investigation into the incidents on Thursday 21st July," the statement said.
"He was then followed by surveillance officers to the underground station. His clothing and behavior added to their suspicions," the statement said.
It added that the circumstances that led to the man's death were being investigated.
Plainclothes police chased a South Asian man into the crowded subway car Friday morning and shot him in front of terrified passengers, as the hunt intensified for four suspects believed to have carried out abortive bomb attacks on the transit system the day before.
Police released security camera photos of the four and pleaded for witnesses to come forward. The images caught the suspects moments before and after bombs misfired in three subway cars and a bus in an apparent attempt to replicate the suicide bombings of two weeks ago that killed at least 56 people.
Witnesses said policemen with handguns caught up to the Asian man on a subway car at Stockwell station in south London. One of the officers shot him five times at close range, setting off a panicked evacuation of the car, according to passengers on the train.
"He looked like a cornered rabbit, a cornered fox, absolutely petrified," said Mark Whitby, one of the witnesses. "They pushed him onto the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him. I saw it. He's dead."
On Friday, Commissioner Ian Blair of the Metropolitan Police said the man, who was not identified, was "linked to yesterday's incidents" and had failed to obey police instructions to halt. But Muslim community leaders expressed fears that police were instituting a "shoot to kill" policy that could target innocent people because of ethnicity or appearance.
Police officials told British reporters Friday that the officers feared that the man, who was wearing a thick coat despite warm weather, had explosives concealed on his body and was about to detonate them amid the crowd in the station. They acknowledged that they found no bomb on the body.