A POLICE officer who ran towards a suspected terrorist threatening a “massacre” at an airport last year has been nominated for a bravery award for his “exemplary policing”.

Sergeant Sean Grainger and another officer ran towards the knife-wielding man who threatened to “cause a massacre” at Gatwick Airport while carrying two kitchen knives.

Firearms officers Sgt Grainger and PC Matthew Parnell managed to defuse the situation, with the man throwing down the knives but continuing to approach them.

At that point, they did not know if he had any more weapons, so the officers tasered the man to stop him.

Daren Egan, chairman of Sussex Police Federation said the courageous officers “had demonstrated exemplary policing and saved lives, including that of the suspect”.

The Argus: Gatwick Airport. Picture from Mike Bedigan/PA Wire.Gatwick Airport. Picture from Mike Bedigan/PA Wire.

He said: “PC Parnell and Sgt Grainger were incredibly brave to run towards the danger and get this individual under arrest as quickly as possible”.

“They could not have known the assailant’s intentions – especially given where the incident took place, being an international airport on a busy summer’s day.

“Police officers have to make split-second decisions which can be then looked over with the power of hindsight.

“So the fact these officers managed to calmly and courageously control and contain the incident without any loss of life is an incredible achievement.”

Staff at the airport managed to clear the South Terminal and call the officers to deal with the incident in June 2019.

Sgt Grainger said he was “really proud” – while PC Matthew Parnell said it was amazing to “see everyone else who had won their awards” as they stood outside Downing Street yesterday.

The Argus: Picture courtesy of Sussex Police Federation. PC Parnell (left), CC Jo Shiner (middle left), Sgt Sean Grainger (middle right) at the awards last night.Picture courtesy of Sussex Police Federation. PC Parnell (left), CC Jo Shiner (middle left), Sgt Sean Grainger (middle right) at the awards last night.

Chief Constable Jo Shiner said she was “humbled and privileged to be at these awards celebrating the immense bravery of Sussex Police officers.

“What an honour”, she added.

At Lewes Crown Court in September 2020, the suspect Adam Russell admitted possessing a weapon and affray. He was ordered to take part in mental health treatment.

The Police Federation 2020 Bravery Awards were postponed to this year due to the pandemic.

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