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July 22, 2005
Shooting In The Tube

After the second series of bombings in as many weeks in London's transport systems yesterday, police have tightened security to avoid another attack. This morning, that heightened scrutiny resulted in the death of an "Asian" man on the Tube when he tried to board a train despite a police warning to stop:

Chris Wells, a 28-year-old company manager, said he was travelling on the Victoria Line towards Vauxhall when he left the train at Stockwell.

He saw about 20 police officers, some of them armed, rushing into the station before a man jumped over the barriers with police giving chase.

He said: "There were at least 20 of them [officers] and they were carrying big black guns.

"The next thing I saw was this guy jump over the barriers and the police officers were chasing after him and everyone was just shouting 'get out, get out"'. ...

Witness Mark Whitby, speaking to BBC News 24, reported the man was shot five times at close range after he had jumped on a train.

Mr Whitby added that he was sitting on the tube train reading his paper as it was stationary with its doors open in Stockwell station. He said he heard people shouting "get down, get down!"

He said: "An Asian guy ran on to the train. As he ran, he was hotly pursued by what I knew to be three plainclothes police officers."

He said the man tripped and was also pushed to the floor. He said: "One of the police officers was holding a black automatic pistol in his left hand. They held it down to him and unloaded five shots into him. I saw it. He's dead, five shots, he's dead."

He reported the man did not seem to be carrying a weapon or wearing a rucksack.

American readers should remember that "Asian" to a Briton will not just refer to Chinese or Japanese people, but also those from the subcontinent, i.e., India, Pakistan, and so on. Even without the rucksack, it seems that this man meant to get on the train regardless of the police effort to stop him. With all of the publicity about rucksacks (and for all the good they did the lunatic terrorists yesterday), he could have had explosives on his body, in the style of Gaza and West Bank suicide bombers. That would explain why the police shot him once they had him pinned down.

This story is still developing, but it seems clear from the eyewitness testimony in the Guardian that the man did not commit an act of jaywalking, and that British security isn't playing around when protecting the London transportation systems.

UPDATE: Another detail emerges on an update to the original story:

There was speculation the man may have been a would-be suicide bomber who had been followed by police. Mr Whitby said he did not see a bag, but the man had worn a bulky winter-style coat, and there may have been "something underneath it".

A bulky winter-style coat -- in July? SkyNews has some so-far unconfirmed details:

Armed officers opened fire on the suspect as he hurdled a ticket barrier and raced along a platform at Stockwell station.

Police screamed at passengers to evacuate and are thought to have shot the suspect as he stumbled on to a train. ...

Unconfirmed reports suggest the man was involved in Thursday's assault on the capital.

It looks more and more like the British managed to stop a big attack this morning.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 22, 2005 5:24 AM

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