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Moment man armed with crossbow is faced by police before he is shot dead

Police discovered crossbows, a knife, a sword and a hatchet at the scene

Barney Davis
Tuesday 30 January 2024 21:16 GMT
Moments before man armed with crossbow shot dead by police in London

This is the horrific moment a man wearing body armour and armed with a crossbow was confronted by police moments before he was shot dead.

Residents say they were woken by a woman screaming as a man, in his 30s, tried to break down her front door threatening her with the bolt-action crossbow.

Patrolling officers tried to speak to him but were also threatened and by the time police marksmen arrived he had broken into the home on the quiet, south London estate.

Armed officers arrived shouting “Withdraw, get out of the house” in a standoff at the front door in Bywater Place, Rotherhithe, at around 4.55am on Tuesday.

Police responded to the incident in Rotherhithe in the early hours of Tuesday (Supplied)

Others shouted “Everyone fall back now” as they ordered the firearms unit to find positions of cover. One negotiator appeared to order the suspect to come away from the door seconds before he was shot dead.

He was given first aid but died at the scene, while two occupants in the building received minor injuries.

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Police talk to local residents after the man was shot dead (Getty Images)

A gas mask, bright arrows, a knife and a stab-proof Kevlar vest were left at the scene alongside blood on the front doorstep of the home where he was confronted by police.

There was a broken window to the rear of the property, visible over a garden fence, where the occupants were known to have barbecues and Christmas parties.

IT consultant Valeria Bocanegra, 37, told The Independent that she heard a woman screaming for help before police arrived.

She said: “It was 4.56am. I heard two people screaming, a woman and a man yelling at the top of their lungs.

“I heard everything. I thought ‘What is happening?’ Then it went quiet and they shut up. I am used to this happening maybe in Latin America where I’m from but not here.”

A knife at the scene near Bywater Place (PA)

Another neighbour told The Independent: “I heard ‘bang, bang’, it must have been the gunshots. I looked at the clock it was just before 5am. Then I could hear police radios crackling.

“I looked out and could see his body. It was horrible. I couldn’t see any weapons or a crossbow.

“The police were really struggling to put up the tent around him. I didn’t want my son to see.”

Police and forensics officers work at the scene of the shooting (PA)

She added: “It’s a really quiet area, usually, with families, everyone knows each other. It’s a lovely community, but in this house people come and go. I think it’s a multiple occupancy.”

Police and forensics officers work at the scene of a shooting (Getty Images)

A 53-year-old father told The Independent: “I heard a man slamming on a door. It woke me up. It was like he was trying to force his way in.

“Then the police car arrived with sirens. I didn’t think it was party time or anything. I couldn’t hear what he was shouting, but he was trying to get in.

“My daughter was awake and said: ‘Papa, I heard someone get shot. There were gunshots’.”

He added: “I thought it could be a terror attack.

“I have lived here for five years and I’ve never heard anyone get shot or even shout.

“It’s mostly families and young professionals here. It is shocking for us in our area. Where will be next?”

DCS Seb Adjei-Addoh, of Southwark police, said: “My thoughts are with all those affected by this incident.

“I understand the local community will be concerned at the events that have taken place this morning. We will fully support the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) investigation into the full circumstances of what happened.”

A smashed window at the back of the property where the man was shot dead (PA)

Deaths involving police contact are always referred to the police watchdog.

An IOPC spokesperson said: “We understand the deceased man was known to at least one of the occupants at the address.

“Local police officers unsuccessfully attempted to speak to the man who had gained entry to the property, but then called for assistance from armed officers after being threatened.

“After arriving at the scene, the armed officers then entered the house where the man was shot. We can confirm two shots were fired from a police issue firearm, which will be subject to further analysis.

“Among the weapons found at the scene were crossbows, a knife, a sword and a hatchet. The man, who was wearing body armour, was taken outside the property and given first aid but, sadly, died at the scene.”

Police officers at the scene near Bywater Place in Surrey Quays (Lucy North/PA Wire)

Neil Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, said: “This scary incident was handled as quickly and toughly as possible by the police who, as ever, charged into an extremely dangerous situation to protect local people and deserve our respect for the challenging role they take on.”

The MP added: “It was extremely scary for local people and some additional effort is now needed to help reassure this was an isolated incident. I’ll be out with my team and know the police and council will be stepping up activity too.”

The most recent fatality involving the Met was Giedrius Vasiljevas, 40, who was shot at his home in Dagenham, east London, in November after calling 999 to say he had loaded guns and wanted to take his own life.

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