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Devon & Cornwall Police Federation

National Police Bravery Awards 2024

17 May 2024


Two unarmed officers’ split-second decision to confront an armed assailant, drawing his attention away from potential further victims, acting selflessly under unimaginable circumstances, have been nominated for the national Police Bravery Awards 2024.

On 12 August 2021, police and emergency services were called following reports of an active gunman in the Keyham area of Plymouth.

Roads policing officers, PCs Zac Printer and an officer who wishes to remain anonymous, were crewed together and headed towards the area to assist, unarmed.

They were soon waved down by members of the public near shops in Henderson Place. On exiting their marked police vehicle, they could see the injured Kate Shepherd laying on the floor having been shot at point blank range by the offender.

Both officers immediately assisted with first aid of the victim, however, after only a very short time, shouts were heard from members of the public that the gunman had returned to the road nearby.

PCs Printer and the other officer knew they had to do something and immediately put their attention to the gunman, making the decision to run towards him.

PC Printer shouted at the male, instructing him to stop and ensuring attention was drawn to them and away from the public in the street.

As they moved towards the gunman, the male used his own weapon to take his own life. As this occurred, a short distance away, an armed response vehicle containing firearms officers arrived at the scene. 

Knowing the injuries sustained by the gunman were not survivable and leaving the armed officers to handle, both PC Printer and the other officer returned to Kate Shepherd to carry out first aid and CPR, until they were joined by paramedics and a doctor, in trying to save her life. 

Both officers were aware the victim’s family were on the cordon and, despite everything they had seen and done, volunteered to escort the ambulance to hospital and take a family member with them.

Dozens of officers and emergency services attended the scenes of devastation caused by the offender that day.

Five innocent members of the public were murdered, including Ms Shepherd, with others shot and injured. It is not known what further may have occurred had it not been for the heroic duo confronting the gunman, on that road.

Devon and Cornwall Police Federation Chair Nick Jones said: “On 12 August 2021, the city of Plymouth was rocked by the tragic circumstances that unfolded after police and emergency services were called to the Keyham area, following reports of an active gunman.

“Both officers, unarmed roads policing officers, showed incredible bravery and dedication to duty confronting the gunman, who subsequently used his own weapon to take his life.

“The officers’ selflessness, putting their own personal safety to one side in order to do their best in protecting members of the public is to be commended. The Office of Constable was exemplified that day, and their actions typify everything a dedicated public servant stands for, and they are thoroughly deserving of this recognition.”

Devon and Cornwall Police Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “The 12 August 2021 is a day that will live long in the memory of many people in and around Plymouth, for all the wrong reasons.

“Five innocent members of the public lost their lives in the most horrendous of circumstances, and a number of others were badly injured. Amidst the horror of that day, one thing shone bright and true, that being the sheer bravery of those who first responded to the unfolding tragedy.

“At the very vanguard of that response were Constables Zac Printer and the other officer. Their actions on the day not only point to the very best of policing, but the very best of humankind. It is only right that we recognise their bravery with this award, and I am truly humbled just to be able to consider them as colleagues.”