Man shoots himself after 16-hour standoff with police in park

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The Independent Online

A man died last night after apparently shooting himself in the head in a park in broad daylight following a 16-hour stand-off with police.

Paramedics spent more than three hours trying to save the man after the incident on Leagrave Common, in Luton. Witnesses said the man was holding a sawn-off shotgun to his chin before a loud bang was heard shortly before midday.

The man was reportedly seen 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.

Bedfordshire Police said one marksman may have also discharged a shot during the confrontation. A spokesman for the force said the man was pronounced dead some time after 3pm. He said: "We confirm that the man involved in the shooting incident in the Sundon Park Road area of Luton 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. The incident has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and Bedfordshire Police are co-operating fully."

Armed police were called to the area after a member of the public reported a man in Wauluds Bank Drive with a gun on Sunday 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.

A police cordon was placed around the park between Sundon Park Road and Henge Way. Between 15 and 20 police worked through the night.

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.