Police officer who fatally shot unarmed man 'sure' he had a firearm, inquiry told
A police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man was "sure to the point of certainty" he had a firearm, a public inquiry has heard.
Anthony Grainger, 36, from Bolton, was shot by a Greater Manchester Police firearms officer through the windscreen of a stolen Audi in a car park in Culcheth, Cheshire, on March 3 2012.
Mr Grainger had been under surveillance as part of Operation Shire, set up to target an organised crime gang believed to be conspiring to commit armed robberies.
A public inquiry into his death, held at Liverpool Crown Court, has heard there was no specific intelligence to suggest Mr Grainger and the other two men in the stolen car would have firearms with them at the time of the operation.
The officer who fired the fatal shot, referred to as Q9, gave evidence from behind a screen on Thursday.
He told the inquiry he had provided cover from a police vehicle and had shouted "armed police, show us your hands" at the occupants of the red Audi.
Mr Grainger and David Totton, who was in the passenger seat of the car, both raised their hands above the dashboard, he said, but Mr Grainger then lowered his hand.
He said: "He lowered his right hand in a sudden and deliberate movement down towards his lap."
Jason Beer QC, counsel to the inquiry, asked why Q9 had described Mr Grainger as reaching towards his groin area in a statement, when he was unable to see that.
Q9 said: "Because that was the direction his hand was going."
He said he believed he had no other option but to shoot Mr Grainger.
When asked why he did not wait to see what was in Mr Grainger's hand, he said: "That would have put the oncoming team in extreme danger of being fired upon."
Mr Beer asked Q9 if he was "sure to the point of certainty" Mr Grainger had a firearm.
Q9 said: "Yes, because of his deliberate movement down towards his groin area."