A man invited to an illegal Covid-19 party brandished a hammer and air rifle moments before he was shot dead by armed police in a residential street, it is claimed.
A neighbour named the man as father-of-two and car mechanic Graham Trinder, and claimed he was fatally shot in the head when police opened fire in Swindon, Wiltshire.
Trinder, 57, allegedly pulled a rifle on his neighbour during an argument before 999 was called and the horror event unfolded.
Shocked residents told how Trinder’s neighbours had been having late night drinks with neighbours in the garden at their terraced house, in breach of the nationwide lockdown over coronavirus.
Teams of police, some of them firearms experts, rushed to the scene as the drama unfolded.
Neighbours, one of whom took a photo of a rifle lying on the road, said that at 2am on Sunday a shot rang out as Trinder, known as Tommy to his friends, was shot and killed by a police marksman.
The incident has been reported to the police watchdog, the Independent Office for Police Conduct, for a full investigation into the fatal shooting.
Devastated friend Lisa Cole said of Trinder: “He was a lovely man and a good father. He helped me out at different times in my life.
“It was such a shock to hear about his death this morning, he was the sort of person that would do anything for you if you were friends. I feel honoured to have been a friend, he will be missed.”
Zoe Mosteller and her partner Martin were socialising with their neighbours when they invited the passer-by to join them as he was on his own, it was claimed.
It is alleged Martin and Trinder became involved in a row before the rifle was pulled.
In an emotional message later on Sunday, Martin claimed that he and Zoe had been “victimised” following the tragedy.
In a Facebook post on a public residents page for the Rodbourne area that was later deleted, he wrote: “As you all already know, a guy died following an argument with me. I’ll be giving a proper statement to the police in due course.
“If I’m completely honest, I have no recollection because I was very drunk – we were having a lovely time with our neighbours and invited that guy to join us as he was in his own.
“Subsequently, weapons became involved and the guy was shot dead. Whatever I may or may not have said or done in my drunken state, it wasn’t me that pulled out a hammer or an air rifle.
“It wasn’t me that shot him. While I understand that emotions are running high given that someone died, I’m aware that certain people on our street have ‘unfriended Zoe’ and blamed her for this.
“That is ridiculous. Zoe and I are well aware we can be a nuisance when we have had a few. But it wasn’t us that pulled out a hammer and a rifle. We didn’t want that guy to die either – he clearly needed help rather than a gunshot.
“We did nothing wrong other than be drunk and be the victims of a guy who clearly had some issues and I will defend that position until the end because it’s true.
“Victim shaming is horrendous and some of you need to to take a look at yourselves before attacking us.”
A witness to the incident, Charlene Mills, claimed: “Martin, I am disgusted by what I had witnessed with all of it. I witnessed you calling Tommy for a fight. You woke myself and my husband up at 1.50am. The man that died, Tommy, had said several times I am not fighting, let’s talk.
“You went over to him wanting a fight. At this time your partner was in the house, you charged for him and he swung at you, Zoe ended up coming out and seeing you laying on the floor then went after Tommy. You was that drunk you didn’t listen. Several neighbours witnessed it.
“Yes this has escalated I talked Tommy back into the house and your partner went back up to his front door. Yes he got an air rifle out to say leave me alone.
“No-one would give anyone personal space, just kept antagonising him. Other neighbours came out to get you off Tommy, as you shoved Zoe into him and he pushed her back which she ended up on the floor in front of the VW Beetle.
“He couldn’t even stand straight let alone hold the rifle straight. Your actions after he was shot was disgusting, laughing and walking in the way of police and paramedics saying ‘let him die’.
“Then struggling with an officer outside your house. Have some respect. Whether you like the person or not this shouldn’t of come to this. And shouting ‘we have been giving him drink all night’ isn’t really a great statement.”
Neighbour Sandy Dosanjh, a 33-year-old project manager for Network Rail said: “We heard there were loud bangs in the early hours of the morning. I have been living here for seven years and nothing like this has ever happened here, it definitely is not typical of the area.”
Retired nurse Teresa Compton added: “I was in bed at the time but I woke up to see all the police cars parked around the road and the police tape at the entrance to the road.
“We heard the man had a rifle but there is still no excuse to shoot him dead.”
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: “We can confirm that following an incident in Summers Street, Swindon, shortly after 2am (on Sunday), a referral has been made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
“This is regarding the death of a member of the public. The IOPC is independently investigating this incident so it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further on it.
“We would, however, like to reassure the public there is no risk to the wider community and that there is likely to be an increased police presence in the area for a considerable time.”
An IOPC spokesperson said: “At this early stage it is believed a 57-year-old man has been fatally shot during the police response to reports of two men arguing in the street.
“He was declared dead in an ambulance at 2.56am. Our thoughts and sympathies are with all of those affected by this terrible incident.
“IOPC investigators are at the scene, and the post incident procedures where the key police witnesses will provide their initial accounts.
“It is mandatory for us to conduct an independent investigation when the police fatally shoot a member of the public.
“We have established protocols with the police to ensure our investigations do not hinder their ability to conduct enquiries as part of their related investigations.”
A notice on the red-bricked St Augustine’s Church located at the scene said: “Following the events in Rodbourne this morning, the church will be open from 4pm this afternoon for anyone who would like a quiet place to reflect, to pray or light a candle.
“Whether you have a faith or not, you are welcome here to reflect on what has happened in our community today.”
On social media, local resident Jim Robbins said: “Just had a call from the police. They wanted to reassure residents after last night’s shocking incident.
“They said that the police will be at the scene for the rest of the day and there will be increased police patrols over the next few days. They asked if anyone had any information to pass on to please do so. People can do it via me if they prefer.”
“If anyone witnessed the shooting and needs to talk to someone, let me know and I’ll try to sort out counselling,” he added.
Police have not yet named the man who was shot dead.
A post-mortem examination will be carried out on his body and an inquest opened and adjourned later.