Sword-wielding man shot dead by police

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The Independent Online

A police marksman shot dead a pyjama­clad man armed with a sword outside a pub packed with drinkers enjoying a quiz night, it emerged today.

Andrew Kernan, 37, who was single and lived with his mother, was hit twice in the chest in Wellington Grove, Wavertree, Liverpool, last night, and later died in hospital.

Police negotiators had been brought in to calm the man who appeared in an "agitated and distressed state", police said.

Officers used CS spray to incapacitate him but when these tactics failed they opened fire.

The owner of the Wellington pub, where the man was shot dead, described how the swordsman had tried to barge into the premises.

Brian Williams, whose daughter Julie Carter is licensee at the pub, said: "At about 10pm our son­in­law Jimmy, who lives with us, came down the stairs saying he had seen a chap waving a sword around.

"He was shouting to bolt all the doors and we managed to get them shut. I think he basically shut the door in the guy's face and stopped him getting in.

"A few minutes later we heard two shots ring out. I don't know if there were any warnings given because it was difficult to hear what was going on outside.

"There were about 30 customers in the pub at the time and we were having a quiz night.

"The crowd is mainly older types, middle­aged and older customers. Most of them remained calm but obviously one or two were fairly nervous.

"I didn't see the guy with the sword but Jimmy said he is not a regular here and he had never seen him before."

Police said they were called by family members and a psychiatric team, requesting help in dealing with Mr Kernan at 9.30pm last night.

Merseyside assistant chief constable Mike Tonge told a news conference: "Officers attended the scene in Wellington Grove and tried to defuse the situation and build up a rapport with 37­year­old Andrew Kernan.

"Efforts to do this failed and he left the premises armed with a sword.

"Further attempts were made to defuse the situation, with the use of CS incapacitant spray, which again proved unsuccessful.

"Mr Kernan continued to cause serious risk to the public and police officer safety, which ultimately led to the discharge of a firearm to ensure public safety.

"Clearly the use of a firearm in this situation is a difficult operational decision, but one which has to be balanced on the risks posed to members of the public and police officers summoned to deal with this difficult situation.

"Our deepest sympathies go out to those touched by this incident, particularly Mr Kernan's family."

Mr Tonge added: "This is an isolated and extremely rare incident which we have voluntarily referred to the Police Complaints Authority.

"Even though there has not been a complaint we want to ensure that the matter is subject to an in­depth and independent inquiry by an outside force.

"Safety of the public and police officers is our primary concern in any situation.

"These were difficult circumstances in which fully trained officers discharged a firearm after carefully assessing the level of threat to the public and officer safety.

Police are appealing for witnesses to the incident to come forward. The inquiry is to be supervised by Greater Manchester Police.