A Nigerian-Irish man suffering from ‘serious mental illness’ was on Wednesday, December 30, shot dead by an Irish Police (gardaí) in Clonee, Co Dublin.
According to a report by Irish Times, the victim identified as George Nkencho, 27, threatened a person in a shop in Hartstown with a knife. About 15 gardaí then responded to reports of a man with a knife at the local shopping centre.
Upon arriving at the scene, gunshots were fired from an official Garda firearm after an attempt to resolve the situation.
The 27-year-old was shot at least three times at the Manorfield Drive in Clonee, West Dublin. He was pronounced dead after being transferred to Connolly Hospital in Blanchardstown.
In a statement, the Irish authorities confirming the shooting and said Mr. Nkencho was involved in two separate incidents in the Hartstown Shopping Centre.
The gardaí said he had threatened members of the public and an unarmed gardaí with a knife.
The statement read:
“Uniform, unarmed Gardaí responded to the scene and observed a male in possession of a knife. The male continued to threaten members of the public and unarmed Gardaí with the knife.
“Gardai followed the male on foot and in vehicles from the Hartstown Shopping Centre towards Manorsfields Drive, Dublin 15. During this period Gardaí were engaging with the male and encouraging him to drop the weapon.
“Members of the Armed Support Unit arrived at a scene in Manorfields Drive, Dublin 15.
“The Armed Support Unit were also threatened with a knife and implemented a graduated response where the use of less-lethal force options (taser and OC spray) was initially administered in an effort to resolve the incident. The less-lethal use of force options were unsuccessful.
“At approximately 12.35pm a member of the Armed Support Unit discharged a number of shots from his official firearm shooting the male.
“The male was treated at the scene by Garda Armed Support Unit paramedics and Dublin Fire Brigade paramedics and transferred to Connolly Hospital Blanchardstown.”
Justice Minister Helen McEntee described the fatal shooting as “extremely traumatic.”
“Yesterday’s events were extremely traumatic for everybody involved,” McEntee said today.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, the minister said: “Obviously, this is an extremely upsetting loss, George’s life. It’s a tragedy for his family and I want to express my sympathies to them and to everybody impacted by yesterday’s events.
“This is not something that we see happen in this country very often, but what will happen now is that there will be an investigation, there will be a GSOC investigation into what happened and what has taken place.”
McEntee said gardaí “understand the concerns and the anguish that has been raised” by the shooting, and are engaging with the local community.
“I really can’t say anything more than there will be an investigation, the matter will be looked at, but obviously it’s extremely upsetting and traumatic to everybody involved.
“I want to again extend my sympathies to to everybody who has been impacted, in particular his family.”
A video of the incident has been circulated widely online, but the family of the victim have appealed for people to not share footage of the incident online.
In a statement, Mr Nkencho’s sister Gloria said her brother was “suffering from serious mental illness and those who knew him know the type of person he was, he was not a thug nor a criminal”.
“Thank you all for your condolences and prayers. My siblings and I have witnessed the most traumatic experience of our lives as our brother was shot in front of us.
“My family greatly appreciate everything everyone is doing. I kindly ask to refrain from sharing the video of the shooting. It is not something I wish to be reminded of.
Earlier yesterday, a protest took place outside a garda station in Dublin with protesters calling for the arrest of the officer who shot Mr. Nkencho and says they want to receive daily updates on the investigation into the incident.
The protesters held signs saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Justice For ‘George Nkencho.’