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Portishead police shooting: Witnesses saw driver 'pointing gun at motorist' on M5 hour before officers shot man dead

Handgun recovered from car where police fired up to 10 shots during morning rush hour

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Friday 29 September 2017 10:47 BST
The scene on the A369 in Portishead, near Bristol, where a man was shot by armed police
The scene on the A369 in Portishead, near Bristol, where a man was shot by armed police (PA)

A driver was seen “pointing at a gun at another motorist” on the M5 an hour before a man was shot dead by armed police, it has emerged.

West Mercia Police said their officers received a call at 8.30am on Wednesday, saying the alleged gunman was near junction eight of the motorway.

Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset Police had also received calls from “concerned” people travelling on the M5 who reported seeing a man in a car with a handgun.

The alert was sent to the central motorway police group (CMPG), which informed Gloucestershire Police of a vehicle “in which a man appeared to be pointing a gun at another driver”.

The car left the motorway at junction 19 and was stopped on the A369, known as the Portbury Hundred.

Avon and Somerset Police said officers opened fire in an incident involving police firearms“ at around 9.30am near the M5 Gordano services.

Witnesses said they heard up to 10 shots before a man was dragged from the car during morning rush-hour.

Man dies during police firearms incident near Bristol

David Ellison told BBC Radio Bristol: "Ahead of me were police in the road.

"I saw them back off from a car and then they surrounded it. They maybe shot with handguns five, six, maybe 10 times.

"Then they dragged a man from the car to resuscitate him."

Frazer Phillips, from Bristol, wrote on the Hello Portishead Facebook page: "I was right next to it when it happened and heard about four to five shots."

Images of the scene showed what appeared to be a handgun on the roof of the red Suzuki Swift, with at least four bullet holes in the off-side of the vehicle and the driver's side front window smashed.

Blood and glass, as well as a sun hat, could be seen on the floor by the hatchback.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) is investigating the shooting, near Portishead, and checking for relevant CCTV and body-worn video footage.

A spokesperson for the watchdog said a man died at the scene, adding: “We have been advised that officers were responding to reports of a man travelling on the M5 with a handgun and that he had threatened another motorist.

”What appears to be a non-police issue firearm was found at the scene and will also be subject to examination.“

No individual police officer is under investigation at this stage, IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said, adding: “My thoughts are with the man’s family and all those affected at this difficult time.

“The investigation is in its very early stages and we will be working hard to establish exactly what happened and would ask for patience while our investigation continues.”

The Portbury Hundred was reopened on Thursday afternoon.

Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call 0800 029 4686 or email m5portishead@ipcc.gsi.gov.uk.

Additional reporting by PA

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