CCTV Snares W12 Gunman

Armed police tackle man waving weapon outside shopping centre

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A gun-toting man was arrested by armed police three minutes after CCTV operators spotted him outside a shopping centre in Shepherd's Bush.

The lone gunman was tackled by armed officers shortly after CCTV operators from the W12 Shopping Centre spotted him waving a gun around in broad daylight on Wednesday 30 April.

CCTV images recorded at 6:10pm show shoppers, including women and children, going about their business as the man openly plays with the weapon outside the shopping centre's Rockley Road entrance.

Numerous times he pulls it from the waistband of his jeans and flashes it around – even pointing it at himself – before putting it back in his trousers.

He performs this manoeuvre a number of times as the CCTV operator calls the police. Officers arrive at the scene within moments.

The footage then shows the gunman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, lying motionless at 6:13pm after police carrying submachine guns and Tasers restrained him.

After subduing the man, police seized the gun, which appears to be an imitation, from the waistband of the suspect's trousers.

Cllr Greg Smith, Cabinet Member for Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour, said: “Thankfully the gun appears to be a relatively harmless pellet gun but when you see someone waving what looks like a deadly weapon around, residents would have been terrified.”

Detective Chief Inspector Geoff Smith said: "In real-time situations like these it can be virtually impossible to determine whether a weapon held by a suspect is real or not.

"Thankfully, this situation was resolved quickly, without officers having to resort to using potentially lethal force to protect members of the public and themselves. I cannot emphasise enough the danger people put themselves in when they decide to carry real or imitation firearms."

The suspect has been bailed to return for questioning on June 26 while the gun is being examined by experts.

May 27, 2008