Innocent man shot dead in London tube

Posted on July 24, 2005 
Filed Under Uncategorized

The man shot dead in Stockwell Tube, London, turned out to be an innocent Brazilian electrician.

Jean Charles de Menezes, 27, (pic left) had the misfortune of wearing a thick coat in summer that make police jump to conclusions.

Witness Mark Whitby told BBC News 24: “I was sitting on the train… I heard a load of noise, people saying, ‘Get out, get down’.

“I saw an Asian guy. He ran on to the train, he was hotly pursued by three plain clothes officers, one of them was wielding a black handgun.

“He half tripped… they pushed him to the floor and basically unloaded five shots into him,” he said.

“As [the suspect] got onto the train I looked at his face, he looked sort of left and right, but he basically looked like a cornered rabbit, a cornered fox.

“He looked absolutely petrified and then he sort of tripped, but they were hotly pursuing him, [they] couldn’t have been any more than two or three feet behind him at this time and he half tripped and was half pushed to the floor and the policeman nearest to me had the black automatic pistol in his left hand.

“He held it down to the guy and unloaded five shots into him.

“He [the suspect] had a baseball cap on and quite a sort of thickish coat – it was a coat you’d wear in winter, sort of like a padded jacket.

“He might have had something concealed under there, I don’t know. But it looked sort of out of place with the sort of weather we’ve been having, the sort of hot humid weather.

“He was largely built, he was quite a chubby sort of guy.

“I didn’t see any guns or anything like that – I didn’t see him carrying anything. I didn’t even see a bag to be quite honest.”

Whitby said when approached by police he was distraught: “I was just basically saying I’ve just seen a man shot dead. I’ve seen a man shot dead. I was distraught, totally distraught. It was no less than five yards away from where I was sitting. I actually saw it with my own eyes.”

Scotland Yard said Mr Menezes, who lived in Brixton, south London, was completely unconnected to the bomb attacks and added: “For somebody to lose their life in such circumstances is a tragedy and one that the Metropolitan Police Service regrets.”

The Brazilian government has expressed its shock at the killing and Brazil’s foreign minister Celso Amorim is on his way to London to get an explanation from foreign secretary Jack Straw.

MORE here and here.

UPDATE: Aug 16, 2005, …The (secret) documents and photographs confirm that Jean Charles was not carrying any bags, and was wearing a denim jacket, not a bulky winter coat, as had previously been claimed.

He was behaving normally, and did not vault the barriers, even stopping to pick up a free newspaper.

He started running when we saw a tube at the platform…

…post mortem examination showed Mr de Menezes was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder, but three other bullets missed, with the casings left lying in the tube carriage.

Police have declined to comment while the mistaken killing is still being investigated. MORE.

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