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Family and friends calls for justice following the shooting of George Nkencho

DUBLIN: The family is seeking justice for the shooting death of a mentally ill young man, George Nkencho, outside his home in Clonee, West Dublin.

The 27-year-old was shot dead by members of the Blanchardstown Garda Armed Support Unit (ASU) for allegedly threatening Garda with a knife.

A video shot by a passerby of ASU members circling a man in a blue jumper has already circulated. Five gunshots can be heard in it, and he’s seen falling to the ground in the fifth shot. After giving first aid at the scene, George Nkencho was taken by ambulance to the James Connolly memorial hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

A series of protests led by various groups have been announced demanding justice and punishment of the guilty Gardaí’s’. Currently, a 14-day protest is planned. Protesters called for transparency in the Garda Ombudsman Commission (Gsoc) investigation into the shooting.

He had a “kind heart,” – Emmanuel Nkencho

Nkencho’s younger brother Emmanuel Nkencho and his sister were present at the protest. Emmanuel Nkencho, who witnessed the incident from inside the house, said his family was “traumatised” by the shooting. George was the eldest in the family. His younger braother said that Nkencho had a “kind heart” but had “suffered from mental health issues” in recent years. “He didn’t really go outside, just to the shop and back. He has his little friend group and that’s it. My brother never bothered anybody, he just got on with his own life.”

“Why couldn’t more than 15 gardaí disarm one man?,” he asked. “Until I know why, I will not be at peace,” he said. Mr. Nkencho’s mother has not yet accepted the news of her son’s death. “The shock is too much for her. The shooting happened right in the family’s presence, they actually have a recording of it. It will be in their memories for the rest of their lives,” Princess Toyin Ogunwusi, a family friend, said.

Israel Ibanu, a soccer player at the Insaka Glentoran Football Academy for four years, said George was “quiet and reserved” young man. George’s life was dedicated to football. But Mr. Nkencho left the football group in 2010 his close friend Toyosi Shittabey was stabbed to death. “It feels impossible that this happened in Ireland. We see the shootings in America and say thank god for this peaceful country that we live in, that would never happen here. But now it’s happened and it’s the worst feeling,” he said.

Sunny Okague, a member of Clonee’s Irish-Nigerian community and whose sons live in the same estate as the Nkencho family, and Obi Odemena, leader of the Igbo union of Dublin said that Garda, who was involved in the incident, should be suspended and brought to justice.

Garda explains

Garda said in a statement that the police action was based on a threat made with a knife. Pepper spray and two Taser guns were used. Garda was asked to drop the knife several times before using force. Mr. Nkencho punched the manager in the face as he entered the Eurospar supermarket in Hartstown. His nose was injured and he is currently seeking treatment. Mr Nkencho then produced a knife from his pocket and brandished it towards staff.

When Garda arrived, Nkencho walked to the post office section of the supermarket. At least 12 gardaí followed him out of the shop and instructed him to drop the knife. At 12.30pm Mr. Nkencho arrived in his front garden. The ASU then arrived at the scene from the Blanchardstown Garda station. This is when the shots were fired. Garda says there are eyewitnesses to all of this.

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