Chinese man killed in flat after police officer fires into the air to stop street dispute

Officer suspended as inquiry launched into shooting in Foshan

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 09 June, 2016, 12:37pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 09 June, 2016, 2:25pm

A man in southern China was shot dead in his apartment after a police officer trying to resolve a dispute in the street below fired warning shots into the air, a newspaper reported.

A neighbour said the man may have put his head out of the window to see what the commotion was and was hit by a bullet, the Southern Metropolis News reported.

The unnamed man’s body was not found until his family returned home hours later and saw him lying in a pool of blood, according to the article.

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Police in Foshan in Guangdong province are investigating the incident on Wednesday and a police officer has been suspended, the newspaper said.

A witness living downstairs from the victim was quoted as saying that police arrived in the neighbourhood on Wednesday afternoon when a couple of tenants at a nearby market started fighting with weapons with property management officials in a dispute over rents.

“I saw three men and a woman [in the fight] get caught, but they started to jostle the police and then one officer took out a gun and fired two shots in the air,” the witness said. “The man might have been killed by the gunshots when putting his head out the window to see what chaos there were at that moment below his flat.”

The elder brother of the victim, who was a plumber and had a daughter, told the newspaper there was blood all over his nose, mouth and ears when they found him.

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People in the neighbourhood said they did not understand why the police officer fired in the air as the area was crowded and is close to schools.

The local public security bureau said in a statement on Thursday that the police officer fired to stop the tenants shoving him as he tried to arrest them. He did not notice anybody was wounded at the time.

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“An initial investigation showed that the man’s death was caused by stray bullets,” the statement said. “Prosecutors have stepped in and the police officer in question has been suspended from work for further investigation.”