Published on 20 Aug 2011 Sections

CCTV shows rioter firing upon police

Video footage of hooded rioters firing shots at police officers and a helicopter in Birmingham has been released. Police call the video “disturbing” and are appealing for help finding the group.

West Midlands Police have released the video in the hope that it will encourage members of the public to come forwards with information.

The video shows a gang of around 40 men in the Newton area of Birmingham attacking the Barton Arms Pub, on Tuesday 9 August. As police cars arrived the group threw petrol bombs at them and then 11 gun shots were fired at approaching officers.

CCTV footage clearly shows one of the men, hooded in black, taking slow aim and firing a gun.

The group then fled and later a police helicopter filmed itself being targeted by the gunmen before the gunman flees.

No police officers were hurt in the shooting but a small amount of money was stolen from the pub. Police believe the intention of the group was to start fire in the building.

A major investigation into arson with intent to endanger life and attempted murder was launched.

Detectives, forensic and ballistic experts, along with local officers, have trawled CCTV footage and made house-to-house inquiries.

Chief Constable Chris Sims said: “Releasing footage that is so disturbing in nature is an unusual step for us as a force, however, the potential for serious harm, or worse, in this incident has led us to this decision.

“Eleven shots were fired at unarmed officers to enable disorder to continue, whilst petrol bombs were also thrown at officers who initially attended the scene.

“This footage shows seemingly co-ordinated criminal behaviour with no regard for people’s lives, whether it be through the setting of a fire, shooting at unarmed officers or shooting at the police helicopter.

“This investigation is being treated as attempted murder and arson, and I am only thankful that this is not a murder inquiry.

“This was not only police officers’ lives that were put at risk, but also members of the public who may have been passing by.

“To date the public reaction to this operation has been overwhelming and we thank people for their continued support.

“However, I must ask once again that anyone who can help our investigation to come forward.”

West Midlands Police say that anyone who may recognise the men can ring 0345 113 5000 or contact independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.