A grieving mother says an inquest into her son’s death proved he was not committing suicide when he was shot by police marksmen.
James Carlo Wilson was fatally wounded by a police marksman in a street in South Shields after he refused several requests to put down a gun.
Mr Wilson, 24, had been goading police over the telephone, telling them to send who they wanted, and that he didn’t care if they shot him.
An inquest jury found Mr Wilson was lawfully killed.
Speaking after the hearing, his mother Tracey said: “As I’ve said all along, my son did not commit suicide.”
In the last two weeks the jury heard evidence from a number of witnesses, including Mr Wilson’s father, who said he believed his son “wanted to go out in a blaze of glory”.
Mr Wilson, who was on bail from the crown court at the time of the shooting in March, 2016, was known to police as an EMDI - an emotionally and mentally distressed individual.
Officers told the hearing his mental state was something they were aware of, but it didn’t alter the threat he presented to the police and members of the public.
PC Perry Lisle, now retired, who fired the fatal bullet, said Mr Wilson was outside a house in Frenchman’s Way, South Shields, holding what looked like a pistol.
He was challenged seven times, but refused to put the weapon down.
A baton round fired by PC Lisle’s colleague, PC John Shield, had little impact on Mr Wilson.
PC Lisle said he had no option other than to fire when Mr Wilson raised the gun a second time.
Senior Newcastle coroner Karen Dilks told the jury they could only return a verdict of lawful killing or suicide.
The jury reached a majority decision after deliberating for more than six hours.
They found Mr Wilson was lawfully killed by a police officer acting in accordance with national training standards.
Northumbria Police Chief Constable Winton Keenen said: “Our thoughts continue to be with the family and friends of James Wilson at this extremely difficult time. They have shown a great level of dignity throughout.
“From what has been heard during the inquest, there can be no doubts that Mr Wilson’s death was a tragedy and we respect the verdict which has been returned by the jury.
“In arriving at their decision the jury stated that the actions taken by the police during the incident were in line with national policy, and the outcome of an investigation carried out by the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), also published today, found that the police response was appropriate.”
Chief Constable Keenen added: “Our specialist firearms officers are trained to an incredibly high standard and are fully aware of the significant responsibility that comes with carrying a firearm.
“In order for officers to fulfil their duties and ultimately protect members of the public and themselves, it is important they have the confidence to make extremely difficult decisions. I therefore want to make it clear that Northumbria Police stands by the decisions of the officers and to publically recognise and acknowledge the dignity and professionalism they themselves have shown.”
The Independent Office for Police Conduct said it had conducted an investigation and found the actions of the police officers were reasonable.
in a statement issued after the inquest, the IOPC said” Our investigation was completed in July 2017 and we have had to wait for the inquest into Mr Wilson’s death, which recorded a verdict of lawful killing, before publishing our findings.
“The officers involved were witnesses to the investigation throughout this case and they each provided a written statement to us. Our investigation did not find evidence of misconduct or performance issues for any individual officer.
“We analysed a large amount of evidence, including CCTV footage, recordings of the calls from Mr Wilson to Northumbria Police, and the statements from the officers involved.
“We found Mr Wilson had made a number of calls to Northumbria Police from the early hours of March 29 and was considered to be emotionally and mentally distressed.
“He made threats to police; confirming that he was in possession of ‘a gun’ and would shoot any police officers who approached him.”
IOPC regional director Miranda Biddle said: “Our thoughts remain with Mr Wilson’s family and friends and all those affected by this tragic incident. We recognise that this must have been an extremely stressful incident for everyone involved.
“The available evidence was analysed in great detail; and every effort was made to establish the full facts of the incident. The investigation team worked really hard and showed great tenacity to produce a final report that provides a succinct account and thorough scrutiny of events.”
Verdict: lawful killing.