LONDON – A Brazilian shot to death a day after botched bombings in London had walked casually onto a train before being gunned down by undercover officers, according to leaked footage that appeared to contradict earlier police reports that said the man disobeyed police orders.
Jean Charles de Menezes (search), a 27-year-old electrician, was shot eight times last month in front of terrified commuters on a subway train, after undercover police tailed him from a house under surveillance.
Police first said the shooting was related to the failed bombings on the London transit system July 21 — two weeks after four suspected suicide bombers blew themselves up in three Underground stations and aboard one double-decker bus.
Sir Ian Blair (search), the Metropolitan Police commissioner, called the death regrettable," but said it appeared "the man was challenged and refused to obey police instructions."
Citing security footage, a British television station reported Tuesday that Menezes entered the Stockwell subway station at a normal walking pace, stopping to pick up a newspaper before boarding a train and taking a seat.
The ITV News broadcast, citing an investigation report into the shooting, also said Menezes was wearing a light denim jacket when he was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder.
Witness reports described a terrifying scene of the man — wearing a bulky jacket on a warm July day — running through the train station, being tackled by a group of undercover police officers, then being shot several times at close range.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (search), which is investigating the shooting, refused Wednesday to comment on the veracity of the documents cited by ITV News.
A police spokeswoman also refused to explain what Blair meant when he said it appeared Menezes disobeyed orders. She noted, however, that police never said Menezes had tried to vault the barriers at the Underground station or tried to run from police.
Lawyer Harriet Wistrich, acting for the Brazilian's family, said police had no reason to suspect Menezes was a bomber.
"He was not carrying a rucksack. He simply had a denim jacket," Wistrich told British Broadcasting Corp. TV. "Was it necessary to shoot him dead as opposed to trying to confront him at an earlier stage? There was no indication he was about to blow himself up at all."
ITV News said that, according to the IPCC report, a member of the team that tailed Menezes into the subway train said he heard shouting including the word "police" before turning to face the Brazilian.
"He immediately stood up and advanced towards me and the ... officers ... I grabbed the male in the denim jacket by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to his side," the unidentified officer was quoted as saying.
"I then pushed him back on to the seat where he had been previously sitting. ... I then heard a gun shot very close to my left ear and was dragged away onto the floor of the carriage."
A man sitting opposite Menezes saw a man boarding and firing his first shot from a handgun at the Brazilian's head from 12 inches away, according to the report obtained by ITV.
The report also said that, while Menezes was shot eight times, three other bullets were fired but missed.