Car driven by Chris Kaba collided with police vehicles before he was shot, an inquest has heard

4 October 2022, 11:22 | Updated: 5 October 2022, 09:20

Chris Kaba
Chris Kaba. Picture: PA media
Fran Way

By Fran Way

The car that was driven by Chris Kaba collided with police vehicles in the incident when he was fatally shot, an inquest has heard.

Mr Kaba was unarmed when he was fatally shot in the head by a Metropolitan Police officer on September 5.

He was driving an Audi which had been linked to a firearms incident the day before.

Police followed the car in an unmarked vehicle before eventually blocking him into a narrow residential street on Streatham Hill.

The opening of the inquest into Mr Kaba’s death on Tuesday heard the fatal shot was fired through the windscreen, during an attempt to extract him from the Audi.

The Metropolitan Police have changed their original statement that officers were in 'pursuit' of Chris Kaba's vehicle when he was shot dead by police. Originally, a day after the September 6 incident, the Met said he was shot after firearms officers were "in pursuit of a suspect vehicle in the Lambeth area."

The original statement was based on the information available to the Met during the "very early stages," the Mirror reported.

A Met spokesperson added: "Our first statement said firearms officers were in pursuit of a suspect vehicle. This was based on information available in the very early stages of the incident."

Witnesses said Mr Kaba attempted to ram his way free before he was shot.

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Details were heard at Inner South London Coroner’s Court this morning in an inquest opening. Coroner Andrew Harris began the hearing by offering his condolences to relatives including Mr Kaba's parents, brother and cousin who sat in the courtroom.

The aim of an inquest is to establish who the person was, how, when and where they came to their death – rather than apportion any blame.

The inquest will be adjourned while the circumstances of the shooting are investigated by watchdog the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

The Metropolitan Police marksman who shot Mr Kaba has been suspended from duty.

Speaking outside court after the brief hearing, Mr Kaba's cousin Jefferson Bosela called for the officers involved to be interviewed under caution immediately, and an urgent decision on whether the officer will face criminal charges over the shooting.

Relatives of Chris Kaba share tearful embrace outside coroner’s court

A protester holds a "Justice for Chris Kaba" placard
A protester holds a "Justice for Chris Kaba" placard. Picture: Getty

Flanked by Mr Kaba's mother Helen Lumuanganu, his father Prosper Kaba and his uncle, Mr Bosela said: "We need answers. Not just this family, but the whole of London - the whole of the country - needs to know how something like this could occur?

"How can a young man, sitting in a car, unarmed, be shot in the head by police in London in 2022?

"This should never have happened. It must never happen again. We must never accept this as normal. Someone must be held accountable."

He added: "An urgent decision on criminal charges is critical for this family, and many others, to have faith in the system that is supposed to bring them justice."

Dean Brown from the IOPC told the inquest hearing that officers on duty on the day Mr Kaba died were told that the Audi had been linked to a firearms incident the previous day.

They were not given Mr Kaba's name because the car did not belong to him.

The shooting is being investigated as a potential homicide and the IOPC probe is expected to take six to nine months, which Mr Kaba's family say is too long.

Mr Bosela said: "We know there are many, many people who are as concerned about what happened to Chris as his family and friends are.

"For many of them, Chris could have been their son, their brother, their cousin, their friend. In communities across London, what happened to Chris feels very personal. They understand and feel the pain our family is going through."

Construction worker Mr Kaba was months away from becoming a father when he died.

Mr Bosela said: "My cousin Chris was very much loved by us. His loss is with us every day.

"He had a bright future ahead of him - his first child was about to be born. That his life was cut short by a police officer is a tragedy.

"We will not rest until the people responsible for Chris's death are held fully accountable."

He shared an embrace with Mr Kaba's heartbroken mother after giving his statement.