CCTV captures moment 'heroes' wrestled Crawley College gunman to the ground

  • Watch the moment two college staff members tackle a gunman to the ground at Crawley College

Two workers who wrestled a gunman to the ground following a shooting at Crawley College have been described as heroes by police.

Sandijs Dreimanis, 18, walked into the campus on 26 April 2021, and opened fire at his fellow students using a fake gun, before trying to stab two people.

College employees Simon Wilson and Peter Davidson rushed towards him as students scattered, even as he fired directly at them.

The pair managed to tackle Dreimanis to the floor and detain him.

Today they've been praised for their bravery as the teenage gunman, Dreimanis, was sentenced to five and a half years in a Young Offenders Institute.

The incident sparked a significant police response, with dozens of officers deployed to the building in College Road.

A spontaneous firearms incident (SFI) was declared by Sussex Police, and officers were called from neighbouring forces including Surrey, the Met, Kent, Hampshire, Thames Valley, and British Transport Police.

College workshop technician Simon Wilson, and lecturer Peter Davidson managed to disarm the 18-year-old of the gun, later confirmed to be a blank-firing imitation firearm, and a knife.

Other members of staff helped them until police arrived and arrested him.

Following the hearing, the pair each received a High Sheriff’s Award.

They were commended by Her Honour Judge Laing QC for their “extraordinary degree of bravery which was most remarkable”.

Chief Inspector Shane Baker, District Commander for Crawley and Mid Sussex, said: “Officers quickly responded to Crawley College after we received multiple reports of shots being fired, and it is largely thanks to the heroics of a lecturer and a member of support staff that the suspect was safely detained.

Sandijs Dreimanis can be seen on CCTV walking around the college campus armed with a gun Credit: Sussex Police

“They put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect their students, their colleagues and the wider public, and we are extremely grateful for their quick thinking actions.

“An operation of this scale is not without impact to those at the college and their families and the community, but also the police at the time and with the large scale investigation that followed.

“I would like to thank the college and all emergency services who supported the operation, and those involved in the investigation.

“I would also like to reassure the local community that thankfully, this sort of incident is extremely rare in Sussex and it was not terror-related. Thankfully, no one was seriously hurt.”

Dozens of police were called to Crawley College on 26 April 2021

Vicki Illingworth, Principal at Crawley College, added: “Speaking on behalf of the Crawley College community, we would like to share our gratitude to the emergency services and to our staff and students for the courage and resilience they displayed during what was a difficult and challenging time.

“The actions which took place in April last year were distressing for us all, but we are thankful no-one was seriously hurt and we have been able, as a community, to move forward together.

”We continue to support our students and staff, and we remain grateful to the two staff members whose heroic actions helped to protect our college community.”