Police ‘exchange fire’ with armed man in Oxford

One person injured as officers respond to reports of gunman in city centre

Tom Barnes
Monday 07 May 2018 21:27
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An armed police officer at the scene of the stand-off
An armed police officer at the scene of the stand-off

Police have exchanged gunfire with an armed man during a stand-off at a home in Oxford.

Officers have cordoned off an area around the property, in Paradise Square, in the centre of the city.

Thames Valley Police said an armed response unit was sent to the scene at around 1.15pm on Monday after the force received reports of a man in possession of a gun.

"People in Oxford will notice an increased police presence in the area while officers are dealing with the incident, which is contained and taking place at a residential property," said Superintendent Joe Kidman, Oxford local policing area commander.

"If you have any concerns or wish to raise anything please approach and speak to an officer or call the non-emergency number 101."

Police said they are attempting to negotiate with the gunman

South Central Ambulance Service said paramedics were assisting police and had treated one person for non life-threatening injuries.

Officers are understood to be in the process of negotiating with the man as they attempt to resolve the situation.

One woman, who asked not to be named, said she heard loud bangs, shouting and dogs barking as the incident had got underway.

"After a second round it became apparent these were gunshots so I rushed inside," she said.

"There was a couple more shots, three spurts in total, still a lot of shouting and barking. I heard a man shout 'show me your hands' repeatedly.

Police have cordoned off an area in central Oxford amid reports of an armed man

"The shouting continued and only quieted down an hour later or so, between now and then there have been bursts of shouting, barks and helicopters.

"I've heard no more shots since though. The entire area outside my flat is sealed off, and there is a police officer with a dog stationed a few metres from the balcony."

Police said Norfolk Road had been closed while the incident was being dealt with and members of the public were advised to avoid the immediate area.

The nearby Westgate shopping centre is not within the cordon and remains open as normal.

The incident is not being treated as terrorism.

Janet Borgerson was in the nearby Hotel Malmaison when she heard "explosive cracks" she thought were holiday festivities before another series of "loud bangs".

"Again, I thought the second round were firecrackers. I noticed hotel bar staff ushering people inside," she said.

Ms Borgerson, who is visiting the city from America, said guests were later told they were "perfectly safe" and allowed to leave the hotel by an armed officer who seemed to indicate he was expecting a siege.

She said: "Because the shooting was directly behind the hotel block in which my room is, I did feel worried that someone with a larger weapon could be a threat.

"But the police were quickly on sight and after 45 minutes or so inside, and then briefed by police, they seemed to have the shooter isolated.

"To the police after a short time, this was definitely a 'keep calm and carry on' moment."

Additional reporting by PA.

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