Unarmed police officer speaks of confronting gunman Jake Davison

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A police officer has spoken of the moment he confronted gunman Jake Davison minutes after he had shot five people dead to try to get him to give himself up.

Pc Zach Printer sprinted towards the 22-year-old while unarmed, telling him to “stand still”, hoping that he could talk him down, an inquest heard.

But seconds later Davison – who had his pump-action shotgun positioned under his chin – pulled the trigger and slumped to the ground.

The inquest heard it was the culmination of a 12-minute long attack on August 12 2021 that began with Davison killing his mother.

The shootings began in Biddick Close in Keyham on August 12 2021 (Ben Birchall/PA)
The shootings began in Biddick Drive in Keyham on August 12 2021 (Ben Birchall/PA)

Maxine Davison, 51, was killed in her home in Biddick Drive, while three-year-old Sophie Martyn, and her father, Lee, 43, were killed as they walked home. Stephen Washington, 59, was shot while walking his dogs and Kate Shepherd, 66, was fatally wounded returning from the supermarket.

Pc Printer, a former Royal Marine regimental sergeant major and ex-police armed response officer, went to Henderson Place where he found Mrs Shepherd slumped in the doorway of a hair salon.

“Suffice to say Kate was severely injured and the medical kit we had with us as traffic officers was insufficient to treat that injury,” he told the jury.

“We did the best with what we had, and we managed to attach a defibrillator to Kate should she go into cardiac arrest.

“What was good was that Kate was still alive. I could feel her breath on the back of my hand. She was clearly in shock.

“We tried to reassure her, ‘Kate it’s alright the police the here, we are going to look after you’.”

Pausing regain his composure, Pc Printer said: “She tried to speak.”

Jake Davison shot five people and then himself on August 12 in Keyham (PA)
Jake Davison shot five people and then himself on August 12 2021 in Keyham (PA)

“There were sudden shouts, screaming, ‘He’s back, he’s back. He’s got a gun’,” Pc Printer said.

“I turned to my left and saw a figure walk from Bedford Street onto Henderson Place.

“He was a large built individual wearing shorts and a t-shirt. He was a carrying a shotgun – I knew it was a shotgun from my firearms experience.

“I got up and started running towards him. I shouted, ‘Stand still’. My thoughts were I needed to protect the public, I needed to protect my colleagues and I also needed to protect Jake.

“He was obviously going through massive trauma because of what happened that day.

“If I could have got closer, I might have been able to negotiate and talk him down.

“I got within 20 metres or so and the shotgun was positioned under his chin, and he pulled the trigger.

“I sprinted to Jake but he had suffered catastrophic injuries which were clearly non-survivable and the shotgun was lying at his feet.”

Stephen Washington was walking his two dogs when he was shot and killed (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)
Stephen Washington was walking his two dogs when he was shot and killed (Devon and Cornwall Police/PA)

He said he shouted at the armed officers, “Catastrophic head wound” and indicated Davison was dead.

“They would have been put in the unenviable position of not knowing if Jake was alive and having to deal with him,” he said.

By this time paramedics had arrived and were working on Mrs Shepherd.

Bridget Dolan KC, counsel to the inquest, asked Pc Printer why he approached Davison.

“There were clearly members of the public present in the street in Henderson Place and I have alluded to my role as a police officer to protect the public as best I could,” he said.

“I had no choice – I had to confront him to protect the public and to do that I had to become the focus of his attention in his eyes.

“I also saved two firearms officers from having to shoot him.”

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