A ROOKIE armed policeman has revealed he managed to shoot all three London Bridge terrorists — the first time he ever had to draw his weapon outside of training.
The officer, referred to as BX44, said the knife-wielding killers emerged from a frightened crowd to ‘close down’ him and his colleagues BX45 and BX46 as they were rushing out of their car.
He told an inquest yesterday he fired to stop Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba from stabbing them.
The officer said he first shot ringleader Butt, who he feared was about to kill BX46. He added at the Old Bailey: ‘I continuedto track him and fire shots until I had to break away to deal with Redouane, who was closing us down and was about to kill another colleague, BX45.
‘I fired shots and there was no immediate reaction — I carried on firing until I had to deal with the third threat of Zaghba, who was on top of me.
‘I was backing away, trying to create a reactionary gap, when I fired and fell backwards. As I fell backwards, I fired and, from the floor, I fired through my legs up to his chest.
‘I thought he was about to kill me.’
The officer said he fired 17 shots in all, before helping victims.
He carried a woman who was having a seizure away from the scene, before finding three people who had taken cover in a cupboard at the Black and Blue restaurant.
The three officers shot dead the terrorists within six seconds of arriving at Borough Market, near the bridge, on June 3, 2017. The attack had begun only minutes earlier. The rookie officer’s colleague, BX46, said they had been warned they were heading for the scene of a ‘marauding terror attack’.
Their orders were to ‘identify, locate, confront and neutralise’. But he said when they arrived he initially thought a bar fight had spilled out into the street. When Butt approached him he realised the ‘cause of the commotion’.
‘I believe his intention was to use the knife and stab me, kill me and get hold of my weapons,’ he said. ‘Around his torso he was wearing an improvised explosive device.
‘I already knew he had a knife and he was a threat to my life but now he was an even bigger threat — a detonation would be fatal to colleagues, members of the public, anyone in the location.
‘So I aimed my rifle towards the male and I was moving back quickly and I moved the fire selector lever to fire and I pulled the trigger.’ It emerged after the attack that the bomb vests worn by the three attackers were fake.
The third officer, BX45, who had been at the wheel of the car, said two men started running towards him as soon as he climbed out.
‘I recall seeing one of them had what I believed was an IED strapped to his chest,’ he said. It was a matter of a split second and the person was on top of me. I shot the male. I continued shooting until the male hit the floor.’
Coroner Mark Lucraft QC told the officers: ‘Thank you for the way you responded. I appreciate you go through a lot of training but there is a difference between training and the real thing.’
Butt, 27, Redouane, 30, and Zaghba, 22, killed eight people and injured 48 others. They mowed down pedestrians on the bridge in a van at about 10pm before stabbing people in the market area.
The inquest, concerning the deaths of the attackers, continues. A previous inquest found the eight victims were unlawfully killed.