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Two firearms officers involved in a shooting incident in Castle Cary have spoken about how the incident has had a lasting impact on them following Daniel Hannam’s conviction for possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
The Avon and Somerset Police officers, referred to in court as IX and IC, were on patrol in the early hours of Wednesday 23 January, when they were called to a report of a firearm being discharged in Castle Cary.
Information led the officers to attend a house in Park Street, where they provided cover for their colleagues who were trying to get into the property to arrest Hannam.
While they were outside the house, an officer alerted the two officers to a “twitching” movement at an upstairs window before Hannam fired a double-barrelled shotgun out of an upstairs window.
Warning: Body Worn Video footage below shows shots being fired.
IX said: “Daniel Hannam was in no doubt why we were at that property. We repeatedly tried to engage and issue challenges to him, offering him every opportunity to give himself up peacefully.
“We were protecting our colleagues who were trying to get inside and arrest him. In a matter of what felt like milliseconds, the top window opened and he fired a double barrelled shotgun – it’s something you aren’t going to forget in a hurry. I thought this is it, I’m going to die. It’s as simple as that.”
His colleague IC, who is now with Devon and Cornwall Police, added: “Very, very quickly all hell broke loose. There was a muzzle flash and I heard a blast. I believed I’d been shot and I didn’t know whether IX had been shot. I returned fire to neutralise the threat as we are trained to do. It happened very, very quickly. My mind was telling me there was no way that he’d missed and it was adrenaline stopping me from feeling the injury.
“Hannam made the decision to do what he did. At no point did we realise anyone else was in that address which is quite haunting in hindsight. There’s a lot of ‘what ifs’ – I do think about that at lot. Innocent people could have been injured or worse, as a result of his actions.”
IX added: “The vast majority of firearms officers will go through their career without firing a live firearm. It’s something you have to make peace with and park. I can still re-live that incident blow by blow. It’s ingrained on my mind and will be for the rest of my career. I’m proud we did our jobs. I’m proud we didn’t get hurt and I’m proud we continue to serve the public by doing this role.”
IC concluded: “You have to find a way to deal with the impact of something like this. Police officers have to be robust. It doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with when it happens. Do I wish that firearms incident didn’t happen, yes – but ultimately we are there to protect the public and each other.
“I want to continue being a firearms officer as I want to be the person who keeps moving forward to deal with dangerous offenders when others can’t, in order to keep the public and my colleagues safe.”
Helicopter footage of the incident below courtesy of the National Police Air Service.