Police watchdog launches probe after officer shoots man


The police watchdog is investigating after a 24-year-old man was shot by a firearms officer and left seriously injured.

He was shot after apparently being told by police to "put the gun down" and is in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Armed police were called to Frenchmans Way, South Shields, South Tyneside, around 1am after receiving reports a man was holding a handgun.

Locals have named the man as James Wilson, also known as Cornet, who was believed to have been shot once in the chest.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it is investigating an incident in which a man was shot and seriously injured by Northumbria Police officers.

The IPCC said a non-police weapon has been recovered from the scene.

Investigators from the IPCC have been working at the scene of the shooting, which has been cordoned off, since the morning.

The watchdog said that following notification of the incident by Northumbria Police, IPCC investigators travelled to the north east to "supervise post-incident procedures for the police officers involved as well as taking control of the scene of the shooting".

In a statement, it added: "IPCC Investigators have been conducting house to house inquiries during the day and overseeing forensic scene examinations. Cordons will remain in place at the scene while this work continues.

"The IPCC is appealing for anyone who saw or heard any part of the incident to come forward with their information to assist the inquiries."

IPCC Commissioner Carl Gumsley said: "It is important that any incident in which a police firearm discharge results in serious injury or death is independently investigated.

"Our investigation will thoroughly examine all the circumstances surrounding this incident."

Northumbria Police said earlier on Tuesday that it was a "matter of course" for the IPCC to be informed when someone was seriously hurt following contact with police.

Neither the force nor the IPCC would name the man, but the watchdog said he sustained an injury to his chest and remained in a critical but stable condition in the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

A local man said his girlfriend heard police shout "put the gun down" then moments later heard a bang. He knew the man who had been shot.

The father added: "I came out and there were police with guns walking up and down in body armour, like they were securing the area.

"I thought they were looking for a gunman.

"Police were working on the man for about 10 minutes, giving him oxygen.

"Then they let the ambulance in and after about five minutes they took him to hospital."

The witness said the man was named as James Wilson, also known as Cornet, and that he was not a gangster.

He said: "It's crazy, you would never have expected that from him, from what I know of him.

"I am really surprised."

Local people have heard the bullet went right through the man's chest. He was described as being skinny.

Earlier, the witness said: "He is a respectful kid, he puts his head down when he walks past you."

He added: "I was thinking: who is daft enough to wave a gun around here? And the man is not that type of person.

"If someone said 'Boo' to him, he would run as fast as he could."

At the scene of the shooting, investigators had placed up to eight yellow markers on the street indicating where evidence had been left.

A local mother, who asked not to be named, said: "For someone to be waving a handgun in the street where people live, it's just disgusting.

"It's an absolute disgrace when it's on your doorstep."

Two women who worked the night shift at a local care home said they heard a single bang in the night.

The IPCC can be contacted on 0800 015 4877 or via email at southshieldsshooting@ipcc.gsi.gov.uk.