The officers believed Khan was trying to detonate a suicide belt, the jury heard.
The 28-year-old jihadi was gunned down by an effective firing squad of armed officers outside Fishmongers’ Hall after Khan strapped kitchen knives to his hands and attacked delegates at a prisoner education event in November 2019.
Khan was also apparently strapped with explosives, which was later found to be a fake suicide belt.
Before armed officers arrived, other attendees at the event tried to incapacitate Khan – striking him with a chair, a fire extinguisher and even a narwhal tusk grabbed from the walls of Fishmongers’ Hall.
The inquest heard six police officers from the Met and City of London fired 20 times at Khan, including 18 in a 90-second period after being sanctioned to carry out a so-called “critical shot” amid fears he was about to detonate his explosive device resulting in mass casualties.
Jurors concluded on Thursday that Khan had been lawfully killed by anonymous police officers following a two-week inquest at the City of London’s Guildhall, half a mile from where he died.
The coroner, Mark Lucraft QC, instructed the jury to return a short form conclusion of lawful killing on the grounds officers thought Khan had a viable device.
The jury confirmed Khan had been lawfully killed and, in a longer, narrative conclusion, they said the first two shots fired at Khan had been “to incapacitate him” and “reduce the risk to the public still in the area”.
Khan continued to move for eight minutes after first shots, apparently trying to remove his coat and a glove before sitting bolt upright and staring at police, who responded with a further 18 bullets.
The jury said: “Between 14:03 and 14:10:27 Khan continued to move while police continued to clear the surrounding area and shouted at Khan to stay still.
“The police believed Khan was trying to find a trigger.
“At 14:10:27 Khan sat up which was interpreted by the police as a move to detonate the device. As a result of this, officers decided to take multiple critical shots to neutralise this risk.
“These critical shots were supported by senior officers in the command centre. From 14:12:06 there was no discernible movement from Khan.”
Following the verdict, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the actions of officers on the day were “nothing short of heroic” and said their speed and professionalism “undoubtedly saved lives”.
He added: “Every officer – both armed and unarmed – who responded that day, as well as the members of the public who confronted the attacker, showed bravery and courage that was quite extraordinary.”
Police called to the scene told jurors they feared Khan would detonate his device – later found to be a hoax fashioned from items including an Xbox, cling film and Gorilla Glue – at any moment.
One officer, known only as WS5, said he feared the worst when he saw Khan was wearing a suicide belt.
He said: “When I was in his face, in his personal space, I remember him shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ (meaning ‘God is great’) at me.
“At that point I thought, ‘That’s it, I’m not going home to see my family or my friends either’.”