Firearms officer served with gross misconduct notice following fatal shooting

23 Apr 2021 11:22 AM

A West Midlands Police officer has been served with a gross misconduct notice as part of an investigation by the Independent Office for Police Conduct into a fatal shooting in Coventry.

Sean Fitzgerald, 31, died after receiving a single gunshot wound to the chest as he exited a property in Burnaby Road at around 6.20pm on Friday 4 January 2019. Mr Fitzgerald was unarmed at the time he was shot.

The IOPC launched an independent investigation following a mandatory referral from the force. 

Following careful consideration of the evidence in this case, to date, the IOPC has concluded there is no indication that a criminal offence may have been committed by the officer. As part of this investigation, the officer who fired the fatal shot was last week served with a gross misconduct notice in respect of their use of force on Mr Fitzgerald during the police operation. Serving a notice advises the officer their actions are under investigation. It does not indicate that misconduct has been proven.

IOPC Regional Director Derrick Campbell yesterday said:

“This was a tragic incident that led to a man losing his life and our thoughts are with the family of Mr Fitzgerald and all of those affected by his death. 

“It is important in cases like this for the circumstances to be examined thoroughly and independently in order to understand fully what happened on that day. We know how important it is for all of those concerned to have answers as quickly as possible, but it is also important to have a robust investigation that ensures all lines of enquiry have been properly explored.

“This has been a particularly complex investigation looking at not only the shooting itself but the intelligence, assessments, planning and decisions which took place prior to the pre-planned police operation. It has been an evolving picture, and due to the nature of the issues involved we have had to await expert advice. 

“Mr Fitzgerald’s family and the force have been updated on our progress so far. Once our work, which is at an advanced stage, has concluded, along with the inquest and any disciplinary proceedings, we will be in a position to release the findings of our investigation.”