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Officers who foiled mass shooting plans commended for their ‘selfless bravery’

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Officers have described the ‘horrendous’ moment when Reed Wischhusen fired a gun in his home in Wick St Lawrence.

Reed Wischhusen, aged 32, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court today (Friday 12 January) after he was found guilty in October of eight firearms and explosive offences.

He received a life sentence, and has been ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years before he can apply for parole.

Judge Martin Picton awarded Crown Court Commendations to the four officers who attended and the officer in the case.

Judge Picton said: “It was the very brave actions the police officers took which saved [Wischhusen’s] life on 28 November. The impact of this incident can be heard in their victim impact statements.

“We expect so much of our emergency services. They deal with a great deal and their commitment is shown, even when it often comes at a great cost to themselves.

“The officers dealt with what was a truly traumatic event. They conducted themselves with selfless bravery and the defendant owes them his life.”

During the sentencing, the statements from the four officers were read out. The court heard about the momentous impact the incident had on the officers, who shot him when he pointed a gun at them.

In one of their statements, an armed officer described the ‘horrendous’ feeling when they heard the gunshot.

They added: “I thought I had been shot while outside the bathroom door.

“In the subsequent moments it made me personally feel that I may be killed, which was a feeling of intense fear. I had never experienced those thoughts before, and this has had a profound impact on me.

“The weeks following the incident, the worry of having potentially killing someone weighed heavy on my mind. It was an extremely emotional time for me, I could not sleep properly.”

The officer recounted the nightmares and flashbacks he endured following the incident, which made him feel ‘detached from normal life’.

Another officer’s statement read: “This incident affected me almost immediately, when I left the house and sat down on the floor outside.

“It felt like I had just come from a massive fight, where I was fighting for my life. Everything just hit me, and I was struggling to take stock of what had just happened.

“[During the post-incident process], I felt like I was in a bubble, like a snow globe, where the world was carrying on around me. Like a goldfish in a bowl, you are being fed but it is such a tiny world and totally out of your control.”

The officer went on to describe how his ‘goldfish bowl / snow globe world’ impacted his personal life as he tried to come to terms with what happened.

A third officer described the ‘betrayal’ he felt after their initial discussions with Wischhusen had been positive.

He said: “I felt I had to rebuild the trust I had for the community. It is less so now, but I still feel nervous and scared when attending incidents for fear of what might happen.

“I joined the job to help and support people. I know that getting hurt is part of it but I never felt that it would be to this degree.

“I want to feel strong again. When I feel myself welling up because of a memory, I try and keep it hidden when others are around because I don’t want to be a victim.”

During the sentencing, the court heard how the firearms officers rushed to provide life-saving first aid to Wischhusen.

In their statement, a fourth officer said: “Besides what he had done, it was a strange situation for him to have been shot, then saving his life, it was an odd, unusual set of circumstances.

“The overriding experience from this is how vulnerable your life is and how quickly it can be all over. You go about your business, going through life and not really thinking twice about what goes on.

“This incident, however, was a mortal moment. It makes you realise how fleeting life can be, how quickly it can all be over. Life is short and this incident made me feel that.

“It’s only because of the quick decisions we made that I wasn’t in the direct line of fire. A second of hesitation and things may have been different.”