British police Tuesday shot a man dead after he fired a crossbow and threatened to kill officers.
Unarmed officers had been called to a house in County Durham after a series of 911 calls shortly after midnight provoked by bolts being fired randomly from the back window. Some of them hit neighboring houses.
Two units of armed police were called in and the officers surrounded the property in Cheapside, in the town of Shildon. The man was hit by police marksmen at 1:20 a.m. local time and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics 50 minutes later.
The man, in his late forties, may have had a grudge with police after a recent arrest for drunk-driving, a neighbor said.
Witness Richard Easton, 45, of Foundry Street, which has been cordoned off, heard the sound of a window cracking before armed police arrived.
He believed it was a bolt from the crossbow which hit a neighbor’s window.
He said: “I heard shouting and bawling. He was shouting ’I’m going to kill you, you bastards. You ruined my life.'
“From my back door I could see him at the window. He was wearing a tee-shirt and had a crossbow in his hand. He was firing at random.
“I saw him fire it a couple of times. The police were trying to calm him down.
Easton, who was in the army for 13 years, said the armed man was singling out a particular officer by name who did not appear to be there at the time.
The armed man shouted: “Fetch the WPC, I’m not talking too the rest of you. I’m going to kill you. I’m going to kill myself.”
Easton added: “I wouldn’t say he really aimed the crossbow, he was not in the right state of mind to do that. He definitely was not himself.”
The witness said he was told to go back in his house when armed officers arrived and he later heard a shot being fired.
More than 20 yellow plastic evidence markers were visible in the street outside this morning.
Durham Police referred the incident to the Independent Police Complaints Commission, which investigated all such cases.