Keyham: One of first police officers on scene of mass shooting honoured for bravery

Zach Printer (left) receives a commendation from Devon and Cornwall Police Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell. Credit: Devon and Cornwall Police

A former police officer from Plymouth will be awarded The King's Gallantry Medal for his bravery during the Keyham shootings.

In August 2021, five people were shot dead in a 12-minute attack, before the killer turned the gun on himself.

Zach Printer was unarmed and working for the Roads Policing team when he self-deployed to the incident. He was one of the first responders on the scene.

Keyham victims. Top L-R: Father and daughter, Lee and Sophie Martyn, and Kate Shepherd. Bottom L-R: Maxine Davison and Stephen Washington.

Lone gunman Jake Davison had killed his mother, Maxine Davison, following an argument, before shooting dead Lee Martyn, 43, and his three-year-old daughter Sophie Martyn, Stephen Washington, 59, and Kate Shepherd, 66.

Devon and Cornwall Police Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell praised the former constable's "courages and selfless" actions during what he described as "the most horrendous of circumstances".

Zach Printer served as a police constable in Devon and Cornwall for more than 17 years. Over the years he worked as a response officer, firearms officer, and roads policing officer. 

The 64-year-old retired from frontline duties in February 2022 and now works as a Police Enquiry Officer at Crownhill Police Station.

The King's Gallantry Medal is awarded to civilians for acts of exemplary bravery.

He said: “I’m immensely proud. The nomination came as a bolt out of the blue; you don’t know who has put this forward.

“I felt absolutely elated when I received the news but in the same vein I was very conscious there are other first-responders who were there with me at the time.

“To be awarded such an honour, and the prospect of going to Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle to receive it from a member of the Royal Family, would be the highlight of anyone’s career.

“I would like to wish all of the families and those affected by the events of that day well.”

Biddick Drive in the Keyham area of Plymouth Credit: Ben Birchall/PA

Zach has previously received a commendation from HM Coroner for Plymouth Torbay and South Devon for his actions on 12 August 2021.

He was also the recipient of a Chief Constable’s commendation and has been nominated for a national Police Bravery Award in July.

Devon and Cornwall Police Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “The courageous and selfless actions of first-responders like Zach Printer amid the most horrendous of circumstances on 12 August 2021 show the very best of policing, but also the very best of human-kind.

“We are very proud that Zach is to be awarded The King's Gallantry Medal for his actions.

“I am truly humbled to be able to consider Zach – and all those who responded to the unfolding tragedy that day - as colleagues."