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Jury: Police shooting which sparked 2011 UK riots was a 'lawful killing'

Alastair Grant / AP

Pam Duggan, center, mother of Mark Duggan who was shot by police in north London in 2011, cries outside the Royal Courts of Justice following the verdict from the inquest into her son's death on Wednesday.

LONDON -- A police shooting which sparked some of the worst riots in English history was largely vindicated by a London jury Wednesday.

A court-led investigation found that Mark Duggan's death at the hands of a police marksman in 2011 was a "lawful killing." The jury returned the conclusion on Wednesday by a majority of eight to two.

The controversial shooting of the 29-year-old sparked a week of rioting across London and other U.K. cities, including Birmingham, Bristol, and Manchester, in which buildings were burned down and shops were looted in August 2011.

More than 3,000 people were arrested, five people were killed, and some $328 million worth of property was damaged across the country.

© Paul Hackett / Reuters / Reuters, file

Mourners arrive for Mark Duggan's funeral service, in Wood Green, north London on Sept. 9, 2011. The death of Duggan, triggered four nights of rioting in August 2011.

The decision on Wednesday prompted angry outbursts inside the court from Duggan's family, who shouted obscenities at the jury and "murderers" at police, ITV News reported.

The Guardian reported that Duggan's mother, Pam, collapsed in court when the decision was announced. 

At the center of the legal case was the question of whether Duggan was holding a weapon before he was shot.

The jury said Duggan was more than likely carrying a gun but that it was not in his hand moments before he was shot.

They said he likely threw the weapon over a fence, where it was found after he was killed on Aug. 4, 2011, in the North London area of Tottenham. 

Riots spread to several English cities after police killed a 29-year-old man in Tottenham, north London.

A police officer testified in front of the court that he saw Duggan holding the gun. This was disputed by the family's lawyer, and there had been suggestions in the legal proceedings that police planted the gun.

Duggan was stopped by police operating on intelligence that he was involved in a gang and had collected a gun. Officers were following him because they believed he was en route to collect a gun from another man.