Gunman dies after police stand-off

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The Independent Online

A gunman died today after apparently shooting himself in the head following a 16-hour stand-off with police.

Paramedics spent more than three hours trying to save the man after at least one shot was fired on Leagrave Common, in Luton.

Eyewitnesses said the man was holding a sawn-off shotgun to his chin before the blast rang out shortly before midday.

Bedfordshire Police said one marksman may have also discharged a shot during the confrontation.

A spokesman said the man was pronounced dead by doctors at the scene some time after 3pm.

He said: "We confirm that the man involved in the shooting incident in the Sundon Park Road area of Luton today has been pronounced dead after being treated at the scene.

"It would appear at this time the man discharged a weapon on himself, a shotgun has been recovered at the scene and it appears that it was in his possession at the time.

"The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) and Bedfordshire Police are co-operating fully."

Armed police were called to the area after a member of the public dialled 999 to report a man in Wauluds Bank Drive with a gun last night.

They found a man walking across Leagrave Common, which includes several football pitches, at about 8.30pm.

The armed officers were joined by dog handlers and specialist negotiators as a stand-off took place and continued through the night.

The gunman, who was wearing dirty jeans, a hooded top, cap and scarf, was seen walking around with a gun held to his chin.

Eyewitnesses said he also spent some time sitting down cross-legged with the butt of the gun in his lap and the muzzle against his head.

It appeared police brought him a McDonald's takeaway at some stage during the negotiations.

A large police cordon remains in place around the park between Sundon Park Road and Henge Way.

Between 15 and 20 police, including armed officers and specialist negotiators, worked through the night at the stand-off.

Gary Sanderson of East of England Ambulance Service said: "Sadly, after everyone's best efforts, the man was pronounced dead at the scene. Our thoughts are with his family at this tragic time."

Ambulance crews from Luton, a paramedic from a specialist "hazardous area" team and the Hertfordshire Air Ambulance attended the shooting.