No gun found in car of man shot dead by police, watchdog confirms

·6-min read
A forensics officer at the scene in Kirkstall Gardens (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
A forensics officer at the scene in Kirkstall Gardens (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

No gun was found in the car of a man who was fatally shot by armed officers after a chase in south London, the police watchdog has confirmed.

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

The 24-year-old’s Audi was hemmed in by two police cars in narrow residential street Kirkstall Gardens before one round was fired from a police weapon.

CPR was administered immediately by officers at the scene and Mr Kaba was taken to hospital where he died later in the night, the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed.

The watchdog said it was understood police had tried to stop him after the activation of an automatic numberplate recognition camera, indicating the car he was driving was linked to a firearms incident in the previous days.

A detailed search was completed on Tuesday night and no non-police issue firearm was found in the vehicle or at the scene, the IOPC said.

It is understood the only gun recovered from the scene was the one involved in the incident.

In a statement on Wednesday, the IOPC said: “We understand at this stage that police officers in an armed response vehicle attempted to stop the vehicle Mr Kaba was in, following the activation of an automatic number plate recognition camera which indicated the vehicle was linked to a firearms incident in the previous days.

“As the investigation into that incident is ongoing by the MPS, it would not be appropriate to provide further information.”

It added: “A detailed search of the scene and surrounding area was completed last night. No non-police issue firearm has been recovered from the vehicle or the scene. ”

Forensic examinations will be completed on Mr Kaba’s car and some of the police vehicles involved in the incident, the watchdog said.

Regional director Sal Naseem said the IOPC is committed to carrying out a “thorough and comprehensive” investigation to establish all of the facts surrounding the shooting.

“We recognise that there is community concern following this incident and we appreciate that questions will remain around how Mr Kaba tragically ended up being fatally shot following an attempted vehicle stop,” he said.

“We are working hard to piece together all of the circumstances surrounding this incident and we want to reassure the community that these questions will be answered in due course, however it will take some time before our investigation is able to uncover all of the facts.

“While these details are still being confirmed, we ask that the public avoid speculating about this incident out of respect for Mr Kaba’s family and for anyone else affected.”

The scene in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
The scene in Kirkstall Gardens, Streatham Hill (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

Mr Kaba’s family earlier questioned whether his life would have been “cut short” if he were not black – as they demanded a murder investigation into his death.

They said on Wednesday they were “devastated” and needed “answers and accountability” over his death.

In a statement released through the charity Inquest, they said: “The family of Chris Kaba seek a homicide investigation into his death from the outset.

“We have today told the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) of that demand and that we do not want any delay as has happened in other fatal shootings – otherwise we and the wider public can have no confidence that the police will be held to account.

“We also want the IOPC to tell us whether or not a weapon was found in any search of the vehicle that Chris was driving. We have not received this information even though the shooting happened almost two days ago.

“Finally, we are desperately appealing for any witnesses, whether before, during or after the pursuit and the shooting to come forward to the IOPC and/or to our solicitors at Hickman and Rose.

“We are devastated; we need answers and we need accountability. We are worried that if Chris had not been black, he would have been arrested on Monday evening and not had his life cut short.”

The Metropolitan Police earlier expressed its condolences to Mr Kaba’s loved ones, saying the force understood that “the family and community want answers”.

In a statement issued earlier on Wednesday, Commander Alexis Boon said the incident was “extremely concerning” and vowed the force would co-operate with the police watchdog in its aftermath.

The officer said: “I would like to express my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the man who died and I recognise the devastating and lasting impact this tragic incident will have on them.

Kim Alleyne, right, whose daughter Karimah Waite was engaged to Mr Kaba described events as ‘shocking and sad’ (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)
Kim Alleyne, right, whose daughter Karimah Waite was engaged to Mr Kaba described events as ‘shocking and sad’ (Jonathan Brady/PA) (PA Wire)

“I understand that this incident is extremely concerning and I would like to reassure the community that the Met is co-operating fully with the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) as they carry out a thorough and independent investigation.”

Prosper Kaba, Mr Kaba’s father, told BBC News: “Really we are shocked to see that in this century from a specialist of the law like police, can shortcut someone’s life, especially a young boy.”

Mother Helen Nkama, speaking through tears, said: “My heart is broken. I am speechless. My heart is broken.”

She added: “I need justice to be done for Chris.”

The pastor at a church which Mr Kaba attended as a child said there were discussions in the community about organising a vigil for him.

Reverend Siaa-Liane Mathurin, of New Park Road Baptist Church, said: “Chris came to the church when he was little. He was from round here, he lived just over the road.

“The community are scared. I’ve had young people come to me asking ‘why did they shoot him?’

Floral tributes left at the scene (Andrew Quinn/PA) (PA Wire)
Floral tributes left at the scene (Andrew Quinn/PA) (PA Wire)

“There are families who didn’t send their kids to school today.

“I’m speaking to community leaders about organising a demonstration or a vigil.”

Speaking at the scene on Tuesday, Kim Alleyne, 49, whose daughter Karimah Waite was engaged to Mr Kaba, said of him: “He was so loved. He was so funny. He was super kind. Crazy. He was always happy. He’d do anything for you.

“He was a fiance, he was due to get married in five months’ time. He’s got a baby on the way that he’s never going to see.

“It’s horrible and so shocking and so sad.”

Some paying tribute at the scene said Mr Kaba was a rapper known as Madix or Mad Itch 67.

Jefferson Bosela, 27, who was Mr Kaba’s cousin, said: “He was a good person, a good, happy guy. He didn’t deserve that. No-one deserves that.

“Nobody deserves to be shot by the police, whether they are a good person or a bad person.”