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U.K. Watchdog Says No Sign Police Shot at Before London Man Died

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Aug. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Britain’s independent police regulator said there’s no sign the man whose death sparked three nights of riots in London had fired a gun at police officers who killed him with a bullet to the chest.

Forensic scientists found “no evidence” an illegal weapon discovered at the scene of Mark Duggan’s shooting on Aug. 4 in the north London neighborhood of Tottenham was discharged, the Independent Police Complaints Commission said today in a statement. A bullet found lodged in a police radio following the incident was police-issue, the regulator said.

“At this stage there is no evidence that the handgun found at the scene was fired during the incident,” the IPCC said in the statement. Forensic scientists said it “may not be possible to say for certain whether the handgun was fired.”

Duggan’s death sparked the worst rioting in Britain since the 1980s, with at least 563 people arrested since a peaceful protest over the shooting on Aug. 6 descended into violence. Prime Minister David Cameron recalled Parliament from its summer break and more than double the number of police will be deployed in London as authorities prepared for a fourth night of unrest, which has now spread to other U.K. cities.

The Metropolitan Police in London, which had been criticized for failing notify Duggan’s parents about his death, said in a statement, “we appreciate that it is frustrating for people to have to wait for the outcome of the investigation, but it is important that the investigation is full and thorough.”

The probe is still under way and the IPCC is reviewing closed-circuit television images from the area, including footage from buses. The Met police will do “everything possible to assist,” the investigation, according to the statement.

The incident began when police, seeking to make an arrest, pulled over the Toyota minicab in which Duggan was a passenger, the IPCC said. Two shots were fired by an officer during the incident, according to the statement. The minicab driver is being interviewed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in London at elarson4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net

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