An investigation into the death of Mark Duggan who was shot dead by police, triggering a series of riots across the country, has still to establish the sequence of events concerning a non-police issue handgun found at the scene, the police watchdog said.
The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said that was a key element in its probe, but the sequence of events was not yet known, contrary to a report in the Guardian that the investigation has found no forensic evidence that he was carrying a gun.
The newspaper, in a story headlined "Revealed: man whose shooting triggered riots was not armed", said a gun collected by Mr Duggan earlier in the day was recovered 10ft-14ft (3m-4.25m) away, on the other side of a low fence from his body, and that he was killed outside the vehicle he was travelling in, after a police marksman fired twice.
On the day Mr Duggan was shot, there is overwhelming evidence that he had obtained a firearm, but the investigation is considering whether he had the weapon in his possession when he was shot, the Guardian said.
The IPCC said in a statement that the investigation was examining a range of issues.
"This is a complex investigation that involves gathering information including witness statements, pathology, forensics and ballistics analysis and we have stated to the coroner that it will be completed within four to six months. One of the key elements we will seek to establish is the sequence of events concerning the non-police issue firearm found at the scene. That has not been established yet, contrary to what has been written in the Guardian article today (Saturday).
"We would urge people not to rush to judgment until our investigation is complete and they have the opportunity to see and hear the full evidence themselves."
The statement said the IPCC believes the headline on the Guardian's article was "misleading, speculative and wholly irresponsible".
Mr Duggan's death in Tottenham, north London, was the trigger for the first of four nights of riots that spread from the capital across England. Initial reports that Mr Duggan shot at police were dismissed by ballistic tests which later found that a bullet which lodged itself in one officer's radio was police issue.
Scotland Yard said that it would be "premature" to draw any conclusions about the findings of the IPCC investigation. It said in a statement: "The MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) is aware of an article published online by the Guardian on November 18 in which a number of assertions are made in relation to the IPCC investigation into the death of Mark Duggan. We believe the Guardian's headline is inaccurate and misleading based on what is known at this time and will be making this point in the strongest possible terms to the newspaper."