A man has died after being shot up to 10 times by armed police when members of the public reported seeing a motorist with a handgun.
Armed officers swooped on a car on a busy A-road in near Portishead, North Somerset, Avon and Somerset Police confirmed, and was shot through the passenger window, witnesses said.
The injured man was then pulled from the old red car by officers who began attempting to resuscitate him on the A369 Portbury Hundred road, which is close to the M5 Gordano services.
The shooting has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission but the force confirmed it was not terror-related.
Onlookers said two police cars pinned in the red Suzuki, before officers approached, backed off and then closed back in while two officers fired shots.
There were at least four bullet holes in the off-side of the hatchback car, and what appeared to be a black handgun on the roof.
People told BBC Radio Bristol they heard “loud bangs” and “gunfire” coming from the road.
David Ellison told BBC Radio Bristol: “As I came out of Portishead to join the motorway I got stopped. Ahead of me were police in the road.
“I saw them back off from a car and then they surrounded it. They maybe shot with handguns five, six, maybe 10 times. Then they dragged a man from the car to resuscitate him.”
Frazer Phillips from Bristol wrote on the Hello Portishead Facebook page: “I was right next to it when it happened and heard about 4-5 shots.”
On the same page, Mark De Lancey added: “I got up on the roundabout as the police were smashing the guys windows and dragging him out. God knows what was happening!”
The scene was cordoned off and officers in white forensic suits had erected a blue and white tent opposite a number of vehicles on the side of the road.
A body, covered by a blanket, lay in the road at the back of the near-side of the small hatchback car.
The driver’s side front window was smashed, and there was blood and glass on the floor as well as a sun hat.
The force said: “Earlier this morning we received calls from concerned members of the public travelling on the M5 who reported they had seen a man in a car with a handgun.
“The vehicle left the motorway at junction 19 and officers stopped the car on the A369 known as the Portbury Hundred. Shots were subsequently fired in an incident involving police firearms and a man has died.
“We referred the incident to the IPCC; they’re now on the scene carrying out an independent investigation which we are supporting. We anticipate the road will remain closed for some time.”
An IPCC spokeswoman said: “We are investigating an incident involving police firearms this morning on the A369 near Portishead in which a man has died.
“IPCC investigators are at the scene gathering evidence and are attending the post-incident procedures. Our investigation is in its very early stages.”
The IPCC said it would examine “what appears to be a non-police issue firearm” found at the scene as part of its investigation.
The watchdog is also checking for CCTV and body-worn video footage of the incident.
A post-mortem examination of the dead man is due to be held on Thursday.
IPCC Commissioner Cindy Butts said: “My thoughts are with the man’s family and all those affected at this difficult time.
“The investigation is in its very early stages and we will be working hard to establish exactly what happened and would ask for patience while our investigation continues.
“At this stage we are currently investigating the circumstances of the incident and no individual police officer is under investigation.
“There would have been a large number of witnesses, given this incident took place on a busy road during rush hour. We would ask that anyone with information that may assist our independent investigation make contact with our investigators.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article carried reports which misidentified the car involved as a red Corsa. Later reports clarified it was a red Suzuki Swift.