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Man dies after being shot up to 10 times by armed police

The A369 was closed at Portbury, close to the M5 west of Bristol.

A man has died after being shot up to 10 times by armed police when members of the public reported seeing a motorist with a handgun.

Avon and Somerset Police confirmed a man died during an “incident involving police firearms” on the A369 Portbury Hundred road, close to the M5 Gordano services, near Bristol.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), which is investigating the incident, said it understood officers responded to reports that a man was travelling on the M5 with a handgun and he had threatened another motorist.

The car left the motorway at Junction 19 and armed officers stopped the vehicle on the Portbury Hundred.

An eyewitness described seeing police shoot into a stationary red Suzuki Swift car.

There were at least four bullet holes in the off-side of the hatchback car, and what appeared to be a black handgun on the roof.

David Ellison told BBC Radio Bristol: “As I came out of Portishead to join the motorway I got stopped. Ahead of me were police in the road.

“I saw them back off from a car and then they surrounded it. They maybe shot with handguns five, six, maybe 10 times. Then they dragged a man from the car to resuscitate him.”

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Police forensics at the scene (Ben Birchall/PA)

Frazer Phillips from Bristol wrote on the Hello Portishead Facebook page: “I was right next to it when it happened and heard about 4-5 shots.”

On the same page, Mark De Lancey added: “I got up on the roundabout as the police were smashing the guys windows and dragging him out. God knows what was happening!”

The scene was cordoned off and officers in white forensic suits had erected a blue and white tent opposite a number of vehicles on the side of the road.

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The scene on the A369 in Portishead, near Bristol (Claire Hayhurst/PA)

A body, covered by a blanket, lay in the road at the back of the near-side of the small hatchback car.

The driver’s side front window was smashed, and there was blood and glass on the floor as well as a sun hat.

The Avon and Somerset force has referred the shooting to the Independent Police Complaints Commission but confirmed it was not terror-related.

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An eyewitness described seeing police shoot into a stationary red Suzuki Swift car (Ben Birchall/PA)

“Earlier this morning we received calls from concerned members of the public travelling on the M5 who reported they had seen a man in a car with a handgun,” a police spokeswoman said.

“The vehicle left the motorway at Junction 19 and officers stopped the car on the A369 known as the Portbury Hundred.

“Shots were subsequently fired in an incident involving police firearms and a man has died.

“We referred the incident to the IPCC. They’re now on the scene carrying out an independent investigation which we are supporting.

“We anticipate the road will remain closed for some time.”

A post-mortem examination of the dead man is due to be held on Thursday.

The IPCC said it was examining “what appears to be a non-police issue firearm” found at the scene and checking for CCTV and body-worn video footage of the incident.

IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said: “My thoughts are with the man’s family and all those affected at this difficult time.

“The investigation is in its very early stages and we will be working hard to establish exactly what happened and would ask for patience while our investigation continues.

“At this stage we are currently investigating the circumstances of the incident and no individual police officer is under investigation.

“There would have been a large number of witnesses, given this incident took place on a busy road during rush hour.

“We would ask that anyone with information that may assist our independent investigation make contact with our investigators.”

Avon and Somerset Police said the A369 Portbury Hundred road would remain closed throughout the night and during Thursday morning’s rush hour.

“This is to ensure all necessary evidence is gathered and a thorough examination of the scene of this morning’s incident is carried out,” a police spokesman said.

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