Watchdog to interview officer who shot George Nkencho
13th September 2021
The garda watchdog has pledged to complete its investigation into the shooting of George Nkencho by the first anniversary of his death in December. The officer who fired the fatal shots will be interviewed by investigators from the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc ) at the end of this month.
Mr Nkencho (27) was shot dead last December 30 on the porch of his home in Clonee, west Dublin, following a stand-off with gardaí, during which he refused to drop a knife.
In line with protocol, Gsoc was assigned in the immediate aftermath to investigate his death.
In recent correspondence to the family through their solicitor, Gsoc informed them the officer who fired the shots is due to be interviewed at the end of this month.
The solicitor was also told separately by the watchdog that it intends to complete its investigation by the end of December.
On completion of the investigation, a number of options will be available to Gsoc. It can recommend no further action if it finds gardaí have no case to answer; it can send a file to the DPP, who could then consider criminal charges; or it could make recommendations that some officers should be subject to disciplinary proceedings handled internally by An Garda Síochána.
Some of Mr Nkencho’s siblings witnessed the shooting as they were at the front door when an armed officer opened fire. Moments before, Gloria Nkencho tried to tell gardaí she could help and that her brother had a mental illness. However, as officers tried to contain the potential for violence, she had to retreat inside. Mr Nkencho was fatally shot at around 12.35pm.
Before the shooting, gardaí had tried to disarm him using a graduated policing response after he had allegedly attacked a shopkeeper at a Eurospar 23 minutes earlier.
Garda units arrived and followed him, repeatedly asking him to drop the knife he was brandishing. He refused and threatened officers when they tried to approach him.
By the time he got home, two members of the Armed Support Unit were at the scene and took over.
Armed officers did not know it was his home and feared he could take the people inside hostage.
He was pepper-sprayed, and there were two attempts at Tasering him, only one of which was effective. However, these efforts did not have the desired effect, however.
Mr Nkencho remained in possession of the knife and continued to threaten officers. Gardaí then opened fire.
Some of the bullets entered the property through a window pane in the porch while Mr Nkencho’s siblings stood inside.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent earlier this year, Mr Nkencho’s mother, Blessing, called for an independent investigation into his death, saying the family are unhappy with the inquiry by the ombudsman.
George, who had no criminal convictions, had mental health problems at the time of his death.
Gsoc declined to comment on the status of its investigation.