Chris Kaba death: Shooting of unarmed man by police now a murder investigation, IOPC says

060922 Chris Kaba (c) BPM Media
Chris Kaba died after being shot by police in south London. Credit: PA

A murder investigation has been launched into the death of an unarmed man who was shot by armed officers after a police chase in south London, the Independent Office for Police Conduct has said.

Chris Kaba, 24, who was due to become a father within months, died following a pursuit that ended in Streatham Hill, on Monday night.

The Audi he was driving was hemmed in by two police cars in narrow residential street Kirkstall Gardens before one round was fired from a police weapon.

The IOPC said Mr Kaba died after a single shot was fired by an MPS officer from the specialist firearms command while police attempted to stop and contain the vehicle.

The watchdog said Mr Kaba was driving a vehicle not registered to him that had been flagged up by an automatic number plate recognition camera as having been linked to a firearms incident in previous days.

A police cordon at the scene in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill, south London Credit: PA

In a statement, the IOPC said: “Our investigation team is continuing to gather and review a large amount of evidence, however as this is now a criminal investigation, we are limited in what further information we can provide. The launch of a criminal investigation does not mean that criminal charges will necessarily follow.

“We have notified Mr Kaba’s family of this latest development.

“We continue to ask that people avoid speculating about this incident out of respect for Mr Kaba’s family and for everyone else affected.”

The watchdog has previously confirmed that no gun was found in the car Mr Kaba was driving.

The Metropolitan Police said in a statement on Friday that it is "co-operating fully" with the investigation.

It said the firearms officer is not currently on operational duties and a senior officer will now "carefully consider their work status going forward."

The Met's Assistant Commissioner Amanda Pearson said in a statement: "My thoughts and sympathies remain with Mr Kaba’s friends and family with this news."

"I absolutely understand that this shooting is a matter of grave concern, particularly for our Black communities," she continued.

The scene in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

"I also know what a difficult and often dangerous job firearms officers in particular do every day to try to protect the public.

"They understand and expect that on the very rare occasions they discharge their weapons they will face intense scrutiny. I don’t underestimate the impact on them of this development.

"I’d urge the public to allow the IOPC the time and space needed to progress the investigation.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan described the investigation as a "significant development".

"I fully understand the grave concerns and impact of Chris’ death on Black Londoners across our city and the anger, pain and fear it has caused – as well as the desire for justice and change," he said.

“I appreciate that there are many unanswered questions and I want to reassure all of London’s communities that I will continue to push for these to be answered.”

Mr Kaba’s family have questioned whether his life would have been "cut short" if he were not Black and demanded a homicide investigation into his death.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, they said they were "devastated" and needed "answers and accountability" over his death.

Met Commander Alexis Boon offered his condolences to Mr Kaba's family and said the incident was "extremely concerning".

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