The family of a man shot dead by police have spoken out for the first time and said they are “still reeling” 12 months on.

Spencer Ashworth, 29, was fatally wounded by Avon and Somerset Police firearms officers on the A369 Portbury Hundred on September 27 last year.

Officers were responding to reports of a motorist travelling on the M5 with a handgun, who had threatened another driver.

Spencer Ashworth deathSpencer Ashworth was shot dead by police on the A369 Portbury Hundred in September last year (Family handout/PA)

In a statement given to the Press Association, Mr Ashworth’s mother, Yvonne Maunder, said on behalf of her family: “Spencer was our beloved son, he had a gentle nature and was a sensitive and compassionate lad.

“As he matured he struggled with depression and anxiety from around 18, he left home at age 23 and sadly we heard less and less from him as he seemed to struggle with his issues. We all missed him terribly – he left a huge void in our family.

“Our entire family are still reeling from the shock of Spencer’s tragic death and would ask for complete privacy now and around the time of the forthcoming coroner’s court proceedings.

“Our next statement will be at the conclusion of the coroner’s court.”

Shooting on the A369Police at the scene on the A369 in Portbury near Bristol after Spencer Ashworth died following an ‘incident involving police firearms’ (Ben Birchall/PA)

An investigation into Mr Ashworth’s death is being overseen by the Independent Office for Police Conduct.

About an hour before the shooting, West Mercia Police received reports of a man pointing a gun at another motorist near junction 8 of the M5.

Police stopped Mr Ashworth’s vehicle, a red Suzuki Swift, on the Portbury Hundred near junction 19 of the M5.

Shots are believed to have been fired by four authorised firearms officers from Avon and Somerset Police, the IOPC previously said.

Shooting on the A369The scene on the A369 Portbury Hundred after the incident (Claire Hayhurst/PA)

A non-police issue firearm was found at the scene and pictures showed what appeared to be a handgun on the roof of the Suzuki Swift.

There were at least four bullet holes in the offside of the vehicle and the driver’s side front window was smashed.

Blood and glass, as well as a sun hat, could be seen on the ground near the hatchback.

Witnesses said police fired into the car a number of times before pulling a man out and attempting to resuscitate him.

A post-mortem examination found that Mr Ashworth, who worked as a courier and was originally from Southampton, died from gunshot injuries.

At an opening inquest last year, Avon Coroner Maria Voisin heard that Mr Ashworth was of no fixed address but his last known address was in Portishead, Somerset.

Shooting on the A369Police stopped Spencer Ashworth’s red Suzuki Swift near junction 19 of the M5 (Claire Hayhurst/PA)

The IOPC said the inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Mr Ashworth’s death is almost complete.

Regional director Derrick Campbell said: “As our final report into the shooting was being compiled, further inquiries came to light which we are working to complete as quickly as possible.

“This has been a large, complex investigation involving gathering evidence from a number of independent experts and police forces.

“Our investigation report will form part of the evidence heard at the future inquest into Mr Ashworth’s death.

“To avoid prejudicing those proceedings we will not consider publishing our findings until the inquest’s conclusion but felt it important to provide an update now.

“We have continued to keep Mr Ashworth’s family, the coroner and Avon and Somerset Police informed of our progress and appreciate their patience.”