KNAPHILL residents have lifted the lid on the ex-soldier who was shot by armed police – describing him as an unstable individual who “just needed someone to listen”.

Richard Pell was shot in the shoulder by police who believed he was about to inflict harm on himself and others outside his home in Oak Tree Road.

Police believed Mr Pell was in possession of a live weapon when he was fired upon.

But the Independent Police Complaints Commission later confirmed he was holding a ball-bearing gun.

Half the street were forced to seek refuge at the Holy Trinity Church in Trinity Road at approximately 11pm after Mr Pell – known around the village as Ricky – suggested explosives had been planted in his home.

A bomb squad gave the all-clear for residents to return at around 2am on Thursday morning, but the incident has left locals concerned about the welfare of Mr Pell who was left disabled after being wounded in action.

Mr Pell, who is in his 40s, was drinking at the Anchor Pub in Knaphill High Street on the night of the police shooting.

Pub manager Angela Pearson (right) said she could not imagine frail Mr Pell, who walks with a cane, posing such a threat and said: “We couldn’t believe what was going on. Knaphill is normally very quiet and you don’t expect these sorts of things to happen, especially from someone like Ricky.

“He can barely stand without his walking stick so you wonder how he could be capable of something like that.

“The police wouldn’t have shot him without reason so he must have provoked them into taking action – it’s so strange to see a person all the time and then hear about them doing something crazy.

“I saw him in the pub that day and he seemed his normal talkative self. You wouldn’t have thought anything like that was about to happen – he must have flipped.”

Angela’s grandfather Keith said more needed to be done to help ex-servicemen and that Mr Pell was clearly not in a ‘stable state of mind’.

He added: “I’m not saying the shooting was unjust but he shouldn’t have been in that position to start with. Having spoken to him in the pub it is clear that he needed help.”

On Friday evening (July 27) police confirmed a man in his 40s had been arrested on suspicion of possession of an imitation firearm and use of a firearm to make threats.

A man in his 30s who was arrested at the scene on suspicion of communicating false information about a hoax bomb was  released with no further action.

But he was subsequently rearrested by the UK Border Agency on suspicion of immigration offences.

IPCC Commissioner Mike Franklin said: “Our inquiry will involve a thorough investigation, scrutinising all the circumstances surrounding the police actions and decisions leading from initial 999 calls up to the shooting.”

Mr Pell remains in a stable condition in hospital.