A man has been shot dead by armed police after reports that “three loud bangs” were heard next to Kensington Palace.
Visitors to the palace fled the scene as gunshots rang out at the junction of Kensington Road and Palace Gate at 3.20pm on Saturday.
Police later revealed they were called to reports of an armed robber entering a bank and bookmaker in nearby Marloes Road at 3pm.
A spokesman said: “The man was then seen to get into a vehicle and leave the area.
“The incident is not being treated as terrorism.”
One witness said they saw a person getting chest compressions from paramedics.
Katie Roberton, 40, who was with her son visiting the palace said she heard three bangs ring out.
She told The Standard: “We heard these shots and I said to my boy ‘My god that sounds like gunshots’. It was not ‘bang, bang, bang’ but slower, all over in seven seconds.
“I stopped in my tracks and so did another woman ahead of me, then we saw people running.
“It was really scary I was with my son, so I had to stay calm for him. We walked to the side of the palace where the cars go in.
“The police there said they had no idea what going on but it could be something to do with the embassies.
“We just got out of there as soon as we can.”
Police remain at the scene guarding a forensics tent in the road.
A manager at a spa on Kensington Road, told the Standard: “We were all inside the hotel, it was busy we had all the guests in the bar, the restaurant. “Suddenly there were loads of police cars everywhere.
“They haven’t disclosed very much.
“Police came in to see if we are ok and told us to keep our guests away from the windows wherever possible. All our windows are open at the back so we were told to avoid people going out of the main entrance.
“Our guests aren’t allowed out still. We have another entrance and everyone is trying to get on normally.”
Another passerby said: “I was walking past and saw the area cordoned off with lots of police cars, vans and an ambulance.
“People were rumouring that someone got shot by the police. But I didn’t hear anything.
“They had a stretcher already out. I couldn’t take any pictures because I was holding shopping bags.”
Author and journalist Millie Kerr, 40, who lives in the area in an Uber when got stuck in traffic near the Palace Gate.
She told MyLondon: “I wasn’t there when the incident took place, but I got out of my Uber and started walking. I headed through the park and saw what I’m 95 per cent sure was paramedics giving chest compressions to at least one person.
“It was next to a car but I don’t think it looked like a car crash had happened. The helicopter has just left the area in the last five minutes.”
A Met spokesman added that despite the “best efforts of the emergency services” the man was pronounced dead at 4.08pm.
He said: “Efforts are under way to confirm the man’s identity and to inform his next of kin.
“The Met’s Directorate of Professional Standards has been informed and the incident has been referred to the Independent Office for Police Conduct.
“A number of road closures are in place in the local area and are likely to remain in place for some time. The public are advised to avoid the area.
“The incident is not being treated as terrorism.” By Barney Davies, Evening Standard/Yahoo News