A full investigation has been launched into death of Plymouth man who died while attempting to carry out an armed robbery.
At around 6.50pm on Friday 25 January 2013 police in Plymouth were called to an incident at the Ladbrokes betting shop on Crownhill Road, following a call from a member of the public.
A man, named as Alan Levers, aged 50, was reported to have entered the betting shop around 6.45pm wearing a gas mask and holding a pistol-type firearm.
People in the shop immediately tackled the man and were able to restrain and disarm him. The man was held down, still wearing his gas mask, while police were called.
On police arrival the man was arrested. It quickly became clear the man was unresponsive and an ambulance was immediately requested by police who carried out CPR until they arrived.
A few minutes later three paramedics arrived at the scene and continued to carry out further CPR. Around twenty minutes later the man was declared dead at the scene by the paramedics.
This incident has been voluntarily referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
Chief Inspector Ian Drummond-Smith said: “This is a very serious incident. We cannot speculate on what has actually taken place here today. A full investigation has now begun and while the IPCC carry out their investigation it is not appropriate to comment further.”
It is normal procedure to refer an incident to the IPCC after someone dies when there has been police contact.
The man has been identified but next of kin have not yet been informed at this time.
If anyone has any information about this incident please contact police on 101 and quote log number 630 of 25 January 2013.
Chief Superintendent Andy Bickley said: "Last night’s events resulted in the tragic death of a Plymouth man. His family are being supported by police and our thoughts and condolences are with his family at this sad and difficult time.
"Within ten minutes of receiving a report of an armed robbery my officers were on the scene. Throughout today we have been working hard to establish the facts of what actually occurred.
"The deceased is a 50 year old man from the Honicknowle area of the city. A forensic post mortem has been carried out today but formal identification has not yet been completed. Police though can confirm that this man is locally known as Alan Levers.
"As previously reported, the matter has been voluntarily referred to the IPCC, although at this time Devon and Cornwall Police have the lead for the investigation. This is routine practice for this type of enquiry.
"A detailed, locally-led investigation has begun with support from major crime team detectives. I can confirm that no one has been arrested in connection with this death nor has anyone been He added that there were four people in the shop at the timeand thhat it was possible there were other people in the immediate area around the time of the incident or perhaps had just left the store a short time earlier. They have been asked to call 101 or through Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 if they have information that could help the police investigation.
Officer add that the firearm has been initially examined by a police firearms officer and it appears to be an imitation pistol, though this "still needs to be verified".
He said: "I would like to add however that there would have been no way of knowing this at the time of the incident. The actions taken by members of the public in the shop were brave and showed a disregard for their own safety.
"I would like to stress that armed robbery with a firearm in the city of Plymouth is extremely rare, with only 1 recorded gun-point robbery at a business premises in the last 12 months."
Police have also had neighbourhood officers out on patrol in the West Park and Honicknowle areas "reassuring and listening to local residents to allay their concerns and fears".