Police have launched an investigation after a suspected criminal was shot dead in his car by an officer in Edgware on Saturday night.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission IPCC is appealing for witnesses after 24-year-old Azelle Rodney, from west London, was shot dead by police outside The Railway Tavern pub, in Hale Lane, at 8pm.

In a pre-planned operation, officers had been tailing Mr Rodney and his associates Wesley Lovell, 26, and Frank Graham, 23, as they drove their silver Volkswagen Golf around London. Intelligence led police to believe they were on their way to commit a crime.

Police opened fire and Rodney was shot dead in the back seat of the car. Three guns were recovered from the vehicle.

Lovell and Graham appeared at Horseferry Road Magistrates Court on Tuesday, charged with possession of a firearm. The officer involved in the shooting has been relieved of firearm duties.

"It's a shocking incident," said the IPCC's senior investigator, Simon Cousins. "It must have been a huge shock for anybody close to it. It's obviously a distressing thing to see.

"But we would like anybody who might have been shocked at the time, but now has had time to think, to come forward to talk to us."

Mr Rodney's family visited the site on Monday to lay wreathes. Bouquets left at the scene are marked with messages such as Love you cousin' and Miss you so much'.

"The family were upset when they came," said Mr Cousins. "It was a hard day for them as they are grieving."

Members of the IPCC spent Tuesday night knocking on doors in Hale Lane, Selvage Lane and the surrounding area in a bid to find anyone who had witnessed the incident.

"The incident took place at around 8pm on a Saturday night, near a pub and restaurant, so a lot of people were there to see it," said Mr Cousins.

"We are looking for anyone who may have witnessed what happened but might have been too shocked at the time to report it."

If you have any information on the incident, contact the IPCC on 020 7166 3997.