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Man shot by U.K. police not connected to bomb attacks

2005-07-24 00:43:00

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Man shot by U.K. police not connected to bomb attacks
Last Updated Sat, 23 Jul 2005 23:56:52 EDT
CBC News

British police say a man they killed on a London subway train wasn't connected to Thursday's attempted bombings in the city's transit system.

* INDEPTH: London bombing investigation

A surveillance camera image of a suspect taken on Hackney Road bus. (AP Photo/ Metropolitan Police)

The man, identified by police as 27-year-old Brazilian citizen Jean Charles de Menezes, was shot in the head five times in front of dozens of passengers on a train at the Stockwell subway station on Friday.

* RELATED STORY: Brazil calls shooting of citizen 'lamentable mistake'

Police initially said the man was "directly linked" with the failed attempts to bomb three subway trains and a bus on Thursday – two weeks after 56 people were killed in four suicide bombings in the city's transit system.

* FROM JULY 22, 2005: Fatal shooting 'directly linked' to bomb probes: police

However, Scotland Yard issued a statement late Saturday clearing the man, later identified as de Menezes, of involvement in the attacks.

"We are now satisfied that he was not connected with the incidents of Thursday 21st July 2005," said the statement.

"For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets."

The police force said officers saw the man emerge from a house that they had been staking out as part of the hunt for the bombers. They said suspicions were aroused because he was wearing an unseasonably bulky jacket and acting oddly, so they followed him and eventually chased him into the station.

Officials said there will be an independent inquiry into the shooting.

Error fuels fears among Muslims

The admission of error further fueled controversy over the shooting, which was the first public application of a policy to stop suicide bombers devised after the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States.

It gives police the authority to shoot suspected suicide bombers first and ask questions later.
A surveillance camera image of a suspect taken at Westbourne Grove, before the man travelled to Shepherd's Bush subway station. (AP Photo/ Metropolitan Police)

Police authorities said officers have to aim for the heads of suspected bombers because they could have explosives strapped to their bodies.

Critics accused the police of having a "shoot-to-kill" policy.

The shooting further increased anxiety among the country's Muslim population. A number of Muslim leaders expressed concerns about the possibility of racial profiling by the police, especially given the climate of fear in London.

The shooting may undermine confidence in the police, said Azzam Tamimi, spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain.

Three of the four suspects identified by police in connection with the July 7 bombings were British-born Muslims of Pakistani origin. (The fourth suspect was a Jamaican-born British citizen.)

Police arrest 2nd man

Also on Saturday, police arrested a second man in London in connection with Thursday's attacks.
An image of a suspect taken by a camera at Warren Street subway station.

The suspect, who has not been publicly identified, was arrested in the south London neighbourhood of Stockwell.

It's the same neighbourhood where police detained another suspect on Friday and where they shot and killed the man at the subway station.

Subway station evacuated

London remained in a state of constant alert throughout the day.

In one of a number of security scares, British police briefly evacuated a subway station in east London on Saturday after a passenger reported smelling something burning.

The Metropolitan Police investigated, but dismissed it as a false alarm.

Authorities are reported to have cancelled all vacations for police officers, in order to boost their numbers on the streets and carry out a massive manhunt for suspects.
A police officer searches a commuter's identity and bags at London Bridge train station. (AP Photo)

Images of suspects draw big response

Police officials said tips from the public have poured in after they released photos of the four suspects, which were taken from closed-circuit surveillance cameras in the British capital's subways and buses.

* PHOTO GALLERY: Suspects' photos

Investigators are continuing to examine the remains of the knapsack bombs left on three subway cars and on the top deck of a double-decker bus Thursday. They're looking for fingerprints or DNA from the would-be bombers, who escaped in the panic that followed, and trying to determine whether the explosives were connected to the July 7 suicide bombs.

Police are also sifting through a large number of witness accounts and photos from the Oval, Shepherd's Bush and Warren Street subway stations, as well as the Hackney Road site of the bus incident.

A statement posted on an Islamic website in the name of an al-Qaeda-linked group claimed responsibility for Thursday's attacks. The group, which is calling itself Abu Hafs al Masri Brigade, also claimed responsibility for the July 7 bombings. The claims can't be verified.

Copyright ©2005 Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - All Rights Reserved


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