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Firearms officer now under criminal investigation for shooting

A West Midlands firearms officer is being investigated for potential homicide offences following the fatal shooting of a 31-year-old man in Coventry in 2019.

The IOPC had previously said that the officer was not subject to criminal investigation over the death of Sean Fitzgerald but in a statement released yesterday they have confirmed that a criminal inquiry is now underway.

Mr Fitzgerald was unarmed when he was shot while leaving a property on the evening of January 4, 2019.

He died from a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Shortly after the shooting, the IOPC confirmed that a single round was discharged by a firearms officer as Mr Fitzgerald emerged from the rear of the property.

The officer involved was served with a gross misconduct notice in April of last year and this investigation is still on-going but at that time the IOPC said he would not face a criminal investigation. It has now reversed that decsion. 

IOPC regional director Derrick Campbell said: “This complex investigation is nearing conclusion.

“Following a review of all of the evidence obtained and the receipt of legal advice, we have revisited our position on potential criminal conduct.

“This does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily follow. At the conclusion of our investigation, we will decide whether to refer the matter to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider whether any charge(s) should be brought.”

Commenting on news of a criminal inquiry, Liam Fitzgerald, Sean’s brother, said: “I welcome the decision of the IOPC to conduct a homicide investigation into my brother’s death.

“From very soon after Sean’s death, it has been my belief that this should have been a criminal investigation. I now hope that the investigation is concluded quickly and that a decision to bring criminal charges will follow.”

At the start of the month, the Police Federation called for armed officers to be given guidance by the College of Policing on interpreting the rules following the judgement in the case of officer W80.

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