Family hear De Menezes marksman tell of shooting

A police marksman today recalled the moment he became convinced that Jean Charles de Menezes was a suicide bomber about to detonate his device.

The officer from Scotland Yard's elite CO19 specialist firearms unit, identified only as C12, said he believed he had to act to stop an atrocity.

He told an inquest how he came face to face with Mr de Menezes inside a cramped Tube train at Stockwell Tube station in south London on July 22 2005.

C12 recalled that the innocent Brazilian got up and walked towards him - and kept moving even after he shouted "armed police" and pointed his gun at him.

He said: "He continued on his forward momentum towards me.

"It was at that stage that I just formed the opinion that he's going to detonate, he's going to kill us and I have to act now in order to stop this from happening."

Mr de Menezes was shot seven times in the head at point-blank range after being mistaken for failed suicide bomber Hussain Osman.



C12 choked back tears as he described how he shot Mr de Menezes three times because he believed he was "going to detonate, going to kill us".

He recalled a scrum-like "ruck" as he pointed a gun towards Mr de Menezes's head while surveillance officer Ivor pinned the Brazilian down.

He said: "I brought the handgun up from my leg and pointed it up to shoulder level.

"He (Ivor) immediately grappled him into his seat.

"It just reconfirmed to me that I had to use force as soon as possible.

"If there was any alternative, you must believe me, I would have taken it but I did not have any alternative.

"I did not believe I had an alternative and if I did not act, members of the public would be killed.

"My colleagues would be killed and I would be killed. I had a duty to protect the public."

He said his Glock pistol was next to Ivor's head as he opened fire.

He said: "We were all together and it was a bit of ruck...

"As Ivor got hold of him, I am virtually on the top of Ivor bringing my weapon up.

"I remember the gun coming into contact with Ivor's head in order to get to Mr de Menezes.

"I do not know how close it was. I honestly believed this man to be a suicide bomber."



C12 was asked why he shot Mr de Menezes three times.

He replied: "I had to be certain that life was extinct, that there wasn't any more threat, that this person couldn't detonate a bomb.

"Our training is, or has been, that a critical shot is a single shot, probably to the base of the skull, which will cause instant paralysis.

"I was not in a position to get there to do that. I fired the number of shots because I detected moments, albeit it might have been movement caused by the bullets."

C12 also said he would not have fired at Mr de Menezes if he had remained seated or if he had stopped approaching him when he shouted "armed police".

The inquest was halted briefly after C12 became distressed by his recollections and could not continue.

When it resumed, he recalled being "covered in blood" after the shooting.

He and C2, the other firearms officer who shot Mr de Menezes, checked each other to ensure they had not been wounded in the incident.



C12 described his feelings when he learned the next day that the man he shot was not Osman.

He told the inquest: "A sense of disbelief and of shock, sadness, confusion.

"Everything I have ever trained for - for threat assessment, seeing threats, perceiving threats and acting on threats - proved wrong.

"And I am responsible for the death of an innocent man. That is something I have got to live with for the rest of my life."

The inquest was adjourned until Monday, when C12 will be cross-examined by the Menezes family's barrister, Michael Mansfield QC.



Mr de Menezes' mother, Maria Otone, held back tears as she emerged from the hearing. Via her translator, Mrs de Menezes, who lives in Brazil, said hearing today's evidence had been "very difficult".

Flanked by her elder son, Giovani da Silva, she said: "It's been very difficult for us to listen to everything that's been said, but we want to be here every day because we want to hear the truth.

"I feel very strong and I have been brave and all this strength has been coming from God."

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
tech
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game