A 42-year-old man has been shot dead by police after shooting one officer and then continuing to fire from a house during a seven-hour siege.
The incident began when uniformed police arrived at Alistair Bell’s home in Cockley Hill Lane, Kirkheaton, West Yorkshire at about 10pm on Monday to arrest him. Police said he shot one unarmed male officer on the doorstep, who received minor injuries.
Bell then moved back into the end-terrace house and continued to fire throughout the night and neighbours said the incident ended at 5.30am on Tuesday, when they heard one shot followed by three louder shots in quick succession. The Independent Police Complaints Commission is now trying piece together what happened.
Eyewitness Mark Blezzard, 30, who lives opposite, said he heard around eight or nine shots as he followed the incident throughout the night. He said: “The police then just told us to stay inside but I could see what was going on opposite. Loads of police turned up – some carrying machine guns. They lit the house up like a Christmas tree and the armed police were behind hedges.”
Mr Blezzard, who works as an engineer, said he stayed up all night watching what was happening. He said: “The police were shouting ‘drop your weapon – drop your weapon’ and all that carry on. I reckon there were about eight or nine shots through the night. I’m sure I heard one bounce off a wall.”
Another resident, Andrew Cousins, said: “At first we thought it was fireworks. We didn’t know it was actually gunshots. We heard the police saying ‘drop your weapon and come out with your hands up’. That’s when we actually realised.”
Locals said Bell had lived in the village, near Huddersfield, all his life and his parents also lived nearby. Margaret Ainley, who lives on the road, said: “He was a bit of a troubled lad, there were problems with drugs I think. He never bothered me and would always wave if we crossed in the street. He didn’t work, mind, and lived in the house on his own. It’s all a bit of a shock really. His car has been abandoned in a field nearby, I’ve no idea what it’s doing there.”
But Mr Bell’s friend Shane Livingstone, who lives a few hundred yards from Mr Bell’s house, said they went to school together in Almondbury, Huddersfield. He said: “He was a good bloke – a very good bloke.”
A spokesman for West Yorkshire Police said: “We regret that the incident at the house did not conclude peacefully as we had hoped and can confirm that the man taken to hospital from the address has now died.”
Police said they tried to resolve the situation peacefully although shots were “continually” fired at officers. Officers initially attended the address to arrest Bell on suspicion of making threats towards another man at a nearby property earlier in the day, the spokesman added.