Cumbrian police confirmed today that three officers saw Derrick Bird shoot a taxi driver and passenger during his gun rampage, but said: "At no point did they have an opportunity to end the killings sooner."
Having already killed his twin brother, David, the family solicitor and a colleague in Whitehaven, Bird evaded police and went on to kill nine more people before turning his gun on himself.
The force said a neighbourhood policing officer first gave chase after commandeering a car. But he abandoned the pursuit to help a taxi driver whom Bird had shot.
Two other unarmed officers in a police van then took up the chase but they stopped when Bird halted and pointed his gun at them.