"the best post on the subject [of the Stockwell shooting] so far and I agree. A must read." - Tim Worstall, August 21, 2005

"Chris at Optimus In Omnis wrote a thoughtful post in July...his more recent post describes the edginess many Londoners feel" - BBC News Online, August 22, 2005

Friday, July 22, 2005

And it continues... (22/7 Journal)

11:07am: With at least three, possibly four would-be suicide bombers currently on the run, no doubt angered by their failure to injure or kill anybody with their actions yesterday, it seemed inevitable that there would be another strike within a short time. Knowing that because of their attempts to flee from the tube stations yesterday, and the overwhelming number of CCTV cameras that patrol the entire city, that they were most likely to be identified within days, it seems obvious that the police were in a chase with the terrorists. The net closing in on the attackers, they only had a few days in which to cause maximumdamage which they aimed to do yesterday. Whether they were killed or not in accomplishing their acts of destruction, death at the expense of others would be a better fate in their eyes than being arrested after days on the run in London.

At Stockwell station, a little after 10am, witnesses reported five shots fired from armed police officers towards a man who had been chased by plain clothes officers into the station itself. According to first-hand accounts, as the man reached the doors of the Underground train, he was shot down, presumably for fear that he would detonate a bomb that he may have been carrying. Within minutes, an air ambulance was dispatched to the scene and various sections of the Underground, but it appears that this suspect was dead at the scene.

11:11am: Through the press wires came the news that armed police surrounded a mosque in East London, with rumours rife that inside may be at least some of the bombers who so badly bungled their attempt to bring the transport scheme of London crashing down around them yesterday lunchtime.

11:14am: Mark Whitby, a key witness to the shooting at Stockwell station, described the shot man as "asian", saying he stumbled upon reaching the doors before being set upon by police and shot five times, leaving him dead. Kennington Underground station, north of Stockwell, was closed as a result of an alert which at first also encompassed Vauxhall station, but was shortened to be only Kennington and Stockwell itself. An embargo on CCTV footage by the police was enforced, leaving the description of the situation to only eyewitnesses. A second-hand account from a man on the tube station described an "asian man" being pursued by "three plain-clothes officers," who tripped and was shot "in [the] head" three times.

11:20am: Two ambulances, three police vans announced as being positioned outside Stockwell station. A media photographer was ushered away from the scene upon taking photographs of the Underground station. The East London mosque, near Whitechapel Road was "totally cut-off" by a cordon, comprising over fifteen police officers surrounding the scene. The Stockwell station situation was described as "very surreal" by an eyewitness, with passengers on the tube acting "very calm."

11:29am: Regarding the Stockwell station incident, Chris Martin, a journalist, gave a report to the wires saying that "it sounded like a silencer gun going off," contradicting Mark Whitby's earlier report. Given the reports of witnesses yesterday, it could be speculated that this sound was yet another detonator going off. Scotland Yard confirmed the shooting of "a male at Stockwell station." Unconfirmed reports say that the man shot (and killed) may have indeed been one of the failed suicide bombers who escaped yesterday.

11:33am: The media cordon surrounding Stockwell station was moved 50 metres further towards the station, signifying a possible police relaxation, with the man who was shot confirmed as wearing a large jacket. By 11:35am, the East London mosque situation had cooled, with the police announcing to the press that they had given the all-clear for that situation on Whitechapel Road, which was a bomb scare. The Stockwell incident was reported as beginning at Kennington station, which is intersected from Stockwell station by Oval station, one of the four areas affected by yesterday's attempted bombings. It is believed that no innocent bystanders were injured or killed by either the would-be bomber or the undercover police.

11:44am: A group claiming links to Al'Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attempted bombings that occurred yesterday, July 21. At Stockwell station, Mark Whitby gave further details of the situation - three plain-clothes police officers followed the man, one carrying "a black handgun in his left hand," and, while two officers held down the man who seems to have tripped on his way onto the train, the third fired five shots into the suspect, who was just "three or four yards" away from Mr. Whitby.

12:05pm: Beliefs that the Stockwell shooting was an intellegence-led operation were strengthened thanks to the thought that the three armed, plain-clothed officers who followed him were part of the Metropolitan Police and had been following the suspect all morning. The man was confronted and told to stop before officers opened fire on him.

12:11pm: Yet more reports came in to the various newsrooms around the country claiming that passengers on the tube where the asian man was shot dead smelt burning rubber and saw smoke, much like those involved in the bomb attacks yesterday. According to eyewitness Ben Anderson, the doors of the train were open for "three or four minutes" at Stockwell station, before there was a commotion on the carriage next to his, followed by screams of 'get out!' from police officers. Footage was shown of police officers, Underground officials and, rather curiously, people in casual uniform, such as ties and suits. These people were believed to be plain-clothed police officers, who evidently had a rather large prescence both outside and inside Stockwell tube station.

12:17pm: Shops and businesses immediately surrounding Stockwell station were closed as a result of the cordoning off of the area where the earlier incident took place. Forensics officers began to slowly make their way into the station, with some carrying videocameras. In videotaped footage, an army van was seen driving through a police cordon.

1:36pm: According to various reports collated together, the man who was shot on the tube train at Stockwell station was of asian descent, quite large, with short cropped hair, wearing a black baseball cap, blue fleece and baggy trousers. By one account, the man, after a commotion on the Stockwell platform, ran onto the train, where he was pursued by officers, who then ordered other passengers off the train. During this, the man was shot somewhere between three and six times. Several experts and commentators noticed the clothes the man was wearing did not make sense for a person during the height of what is an unusually hot British summer. Some people were pointing towards the unconfirmed description that surrounded one of the bombers yesterday - who was rumoured to take shelter in University College Hospital - which included a blue jacket, with a hole in the back and wires hanging out of it. A police conference was expected at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre shortly. In the previous hour, TUC representatives reported to the media that "hundreds" of tube workers refused to work last night following the second wave of attacks, which luckily failed.

1:48pm: Due to "ongoing operations," the press conference held by the police was delayed for a further hour. Another alert on the Underground, at Watford station, filtered through, and the line through that station was closed to passengers. In other occurrences throughout the country, a cordon was raised around Canary Wharf; and a Southampton-London mainline train has been stopped mid-journey due to a suspicious package. Further confusing the situation, another report of smoke moving through a train in transit between Stockwell and Vauxhall stations from a burning black rucksack, with a "strange, putrid smell" was filed, with those involved claiming this had occurred at around 9:20am.

The suicide bombers trying to cause chaos and confusion could only wish that their actions would have such an effect as the rumours surrounding the shooting of this supposed bomber: only one thing could be confirmed by the Metropolitan police; they had, indeed, shot a man at Stockwell station dead.

2:22pm: Roughly forty minutes ago a small section of Harrow Road was cordoned off and police snipers stationed around the area, in preparation for dealing with some sort of incident. There were several plain-clothed police officers at the event, including some rumoured to be forensics officers and bomb disposal teams. Police did not ask residents on the Harrow Road to evacuate their premises, and it was thought that a house on the road may be a 'bomb factory' the likes of which were seen in Leeds and used to build the bombs involved in the 7 July attacks. The police conference was moved back a further hour.

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