A 31-year-old former soldier got fatally shot by police during a raid on a suspected cannabis farm has been named locally as Sean Fitzgerald. Apparently, he got shot from behind, even though he was unarmed.
Officers have not yet found a firearm at the scene, and one neighbor revealed how cops had told her that Mr. Fitzgerald was killed after a drugs warrant “went wrong”. The officer confirmed there had been a shooting but that it wasn’t an officer that had been shot.
Another neighbor wrote on Facebook:
One of the officers said it was an arrest warrant gone wrong and confirmed that someone was shot. They classed it as going wrong considering arrests don’t usually end in a shoot-out.
Two others were arrested at the scene in Coventry on suspicion of a drugs offense following an intelligence-led operation on Friday evening, West Midlands Police said.
Friends paid tribute to Mr. Fitzgerald, who lived locally, as the police watchdog opened an investigation into the shooting that followed the execution of a warrant at about 6.20pm.
One, who gave his name as Ali, said he had been with the “very, very good guy” shortly before he visited the home in Burnaby Road where he was killed. Ali said he believed his friend presented “no threat or danger”, and added:
He’s served for all of us – the police, everybody – in the Army up until last year.
A family member wrote online that she was “absolutely gutted” by the death of Mr. Fitzgerald, who another friend described as a “one of a kind” who “would be there for anyone”.
Investigators from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) will examine footage from cameras being worn by the officers involved as well as local CCTV.
Announcing the incident, West Midlands Police said:
One man was shot and pronounced dead at the scene while two other men were detained by officers.
The force later added that the two 26-year-old men remained in custody on suspicion of involvement in the production of cannabis.
Fire engineer Karl Lolley, a father-of-two who lives behind the police cordon, said he heard “four or five” gunshots after witnessing officers descend on the home.
I saw three or four armed police cars turn up. Five to six armed officers got out and they went in the front door. There were some gunshots. The next thing you know there’s more police arriving and they cordon off the area. They carry a person out on a stretcher, they put him in an ambulance – the lights on the ambulance were flashing for about half an hour as they were working on him. Then they turned the lights off and they drove off slowly. Obviously, they pronounced him dead.
IOPC regional director Amanda Rowe:
Our investigation is in its very early stages and we will be working hard to establish what happened. My thoughts are with the man’s family and all of those affected by this incident. The next steps will be to view the body-worn video footage and establish if there are any local CCTV recordings. At this stage we are looking at the circumstances of the incident and all officers remain witnesses to our investigation.