Inquest opens into death of man shot by police in Carlisle

Armed officers responded after being alerted to a man “threatening people at an address, with a possible imminent threat to a child” on Borland Avenue in Carlisle on Monday 19 December. Credit: ITV News

An inquest has been opened into the death of a man shot dead by armed police in Carlisle in December.

Armed officers responded after being alerted to a man "threatening people at an address, with a possible imminent threat to a child" on Borland Avenue in the Botcherby area just after 3:30pm on Monday 19 December.

A man was found in possession of a knife and a police firearm was discharged, a force spokesman said.

Sergii Kuzmenko, aged 40, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"No other members of the public were injured during this incident, which at this stage is believed to be an isolated incident," a police spokesman said at the time.

Following the shooting, Cumbria Constabulary referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) watchdog, which launched an immediate investigation.

In an update two days after the incident, the IOPC said officers had been called to an address where it was reported a man was making threats to kill and young children were present.

"Armed and unarmed officers entered the property. Initial accounts report that once inside, they identified a possible threat to a child and two armed officers discharged their weapons," it stated.

The man suffered injuries to his head and chest, and a knife was recovered from the scene.

Initial accounts were obtained from 11 officers, and the IOPC have started the process of reviewing evidence, including body camera footage showing events inside the address.

An inquest into the death of Mr Kuzmenko was opened on Thursday 12 January by Robert Cohen, one of Cumbria’s assistant coroners.

During a short hearing, Mr Cohen said: "The circumstances reported to the court in respect of the death of Mr Kuzmenko indicate that he sustained a fatal gunshot injury in the course of a police investigation.

"In the circumstances is appropriate for me to open an inquest into Mr Kuzmenko’s death and I do so.

“However, the court is also informed that the circumstances of Mr Kuzmenko’s death are the subject of an independent investigation by the IOPC.

"In the circumstances I am satisfied that it would be appropriate to suspend the coroner’s investigation into Mr Kuzmenko’s death for the time being, pending further enquiries and information from the IOPC."

Mr Cohen also admitted into evidence a statement from Detective Chief Inspector Patrick McDonnell, of North Cumbria CID.

"Detective Chief Inspector McDonnell explains that he has viewed a series of photographs taken of the deceased and has cross-referenced those with photographs taken in life of Sergii Kuzmenko," Mr Cohen noted.

"Detective Chief Inspector McDonnell confirms that his understanding and his belief is that the deceased was Sergii Kuzmenko."

Mr Cohen formally suspended the coroner’s investigation pending further information.

Following the incident, IOPC regional director Catherine Bates said: "This was a tragic incident and our thoughts are with all those affected.

"While police shootings are, thankfully, rare it is understandable that people will be concerned by recent events.

"This was an isolated incident and our independent investigation will be thorough to ensure we understand the circumstances that have led to a man losing his life.

"We have met with the man’s family to explain our role and will be updating them as the investigation progresses."

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