Coventry & Warwickshire

Man shot dead by police in Coventry

Sean Fitzgerald Image copyright Friend's handout
Image caption Sean Fitzgerald died at the scene in Burnaby Road, Coventry

A man has been shot dead by police officers in Coventry.

Armed officers executed a warrant at an address in Burnaby Road on Friday as part of a "long-running criminal investigation", West Midlands Police said.

Sean Fitzgerald, aged 31, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two 26-year-old men have been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the production of cannabis.

The area remains cordoned off and the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) is investigating.

West Midlands Police said it was an "intelligence-led operation" and the shooting was "a tragic incident that will be thoroughly investigated".

Several police cars were still at the scene on Saturday and a cordon surrounded 50 homes, BBC Coventry and Warwickshire reporter Keith Wedgebury said.

Image caption The scene remained cordoned off on Saturday

A large number of emergency service vehicles were reported in the mainly residential street north of the city centre from about 18:20 GMT on Friday.

Residents were told to stay indoors as part of the street was closed.

Witness Karl Lolley said he heard "four or five" gunshots after witnessing officers descend on the home.

"I saw three or four armed police cars turn up," he said.

"Five to six armed officers got out and they went in the front door. There were some gunshots.

"The next thing you know there's more police arriving and they cordon off the area.

"They carry a person out on a stretcher, they put him in an ambulance - the lights on the ambulance were flashing for about half an hour as they were working on him."

Image caption Ali, a friend of Mr Fitzgerald's, said he was "heartbroken"

Ali, a friend of Mr Fitzgerald, told BBC News he was "heartbroken".

"Me, myself personally, I've only known him for about a year, but I feel like that he's that much of a nice guy, I've know him my whole life," he said.

He added that Mr Fitzgerald, who had served in the military, had "a heart of gold" and would "go out of his way for anyone".

"No matter how nice or how bad a guy is, nobody deserves to be killed," he said.

Image caption Flowers have been left at the scene

West Midlands Police Assistant Chief Constable Sue Southern said the force executed a warrant at the address as part of a "long-running criminal investigation".

She said: "During the operation, a 31-year-old man was shot dead by police. This is clearly a tragic incident that will be thoroughly investigated.

"His family are being supported by a specially trained officer from the IOPC."

She added: "This was an intelligence-led operation, but I am not in a position to elaborate on the nature of it at this time."

When asked about a suggestion by the victim's friends that he had been shot in the back, Assistant Chief Constable Southern said: "From the information I have at this point, that is not my understanding."

The IOPC also said: "Based on the evidence we have reviewed so far, including the body worn video footage - and contrary to reports - there is no indication the man was shot in the back."

Image caption Officers carried out further investigations on Saturday

Amanda Rowe, regional director of the IOPC, confirmed Mr Fitzgerald's next of kin had been informed.

"Our investigation is in its very early stages and we will be working hard to establish what happened," she said.

"My thoughts are with the man's family and all of those affected by this incident."