Probe continues over Sunderland man who died after police quizzing about hoax gun alert

Police presence in Wetherby Road, Grangetown, Sunderland.
Police presence in Wetherby Road, Grangetown, Sunderland.
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AN investigation is continuing today into a Sunderland man’s death after he was quizzed by police over a hoax guns alert.

Gary McVey, 36, died in hospital after falling ill while being interviewed by police at his home in Wetherby Road, Grangetown.

Officers were originally called to Toward Road, in Hendon, shortly after 6.30pm on Thursday, after receiving a report of men with guns inside a home there.

It soon emerged that the report was false, and police then went to a house in Wetherby Road, where the call was traced to, and spoke to Mr McVey.

While they were there, he became unwell and an ambulance was called.

He was treated at the scene by paramedics and taken to Sunderland Royal Hospital, where he died.

Mr McVey’s death has now been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), due to contact between him and Northumbria Police officers.

It is believed Mr McVey lived in a semi-detached house in Wetherby Road with his parents and a younger brother.

One resident told the Echo: “It’s normally a very quiet area.

“I just saw the six police cars and armed response at about 7pm.

“They were here for about an hour-and-a-half to a couple of hours.

“There were two ambulances, and there has been a police car outside all night.”

A couple who also live in the street, but did not want to be named, spoke of their shock.

“They’re a nice, quiet family who keep themselves to themselves,” said the woman.

“They’ve only lived there about four or five years, and it’s really sad that this has happened just before Christmas.”

Meanwhile, tributes to Mr McVey were left on his Facebook page.

Kriss Botham wrote: “We’ve lost a true topper there! Gutted xx” While Helen Hepton wrote: “Gutted !!! Xx”

An IPCC spokesman said: “The IPCC was notified by Northumbria Police at about 11pm on Thursday, December 18, of the death of a 36-year-old man in Sunderland following contact with the police.

“A decision to conduct an independent IPCC investigation was made shortly afterwards, and IPCC investigators were sent to the scene.

“We will be speaking to the family of the man concerned and the officers involved.” he added.