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‘I cannot praise the courage, resilience and support shown by our staff enough’ Crawley College Principle releases statement

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Following the incident at Crawley College yesterday (Monday 26 April), Vicki Illingworth – Crawley College Principal – has shared the following statement.

Vicki said: “Our college community was shaken by the actions that occurred yesterday afternoon.

“I cannot praise the courage, resilience and support shown by our staff enough. They have been incredible and the care and compassion they shared with our students and with each other continues to fill me with admiration.

“We can confirm two members of our staff did sustain some minor injuries, which were not gunshot wounds.

“Their heroic actions – and the rapid response of emergency services – helped to protect our college community. They are both at home, resting, and we ask members of the media to respect their privacy at this time.

“Our priority is and remains the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff. Counselling services are available for all students and staff.

“We are grateful to have received so many messages of support from parents and local residents, as well as colleagues across the FE sector, local authorities and individuals close to the college. We would like to thank everyone for keeping us in their thoughts and extend our thanks to the Police and the emergency services.

“We know many of our students are keen to resume their studies in their normal college environment. We will be providing updates as soon as we are able. But we look forward to being together again, on campus, soon.

“Thank you for your continued support, patience and understanding.”

The statement comes as Sussex Police praise the actions of the staff for their actions tackling the armed suspect during the incident on Monday afternoon (26th April).

Shortly after 3.10pm, police received reports of shots being fired at the site in College Road.

Officers swiftly responded to the scene, where the suspect had been detained by two college employees; a teacher and a member of support staff.

A blank firing handgun and a knife were seized, and at 3.20pm an 18-year-old man from Crawley was arrested on suspicion of firearms offences. He remains in custody at this stage.

Pupils and staff were evacuated to a safe space while police carried out a search of the buildings, assisted by the Explosive Ordnance Disposal. West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and South East Coast Ambulance were also in attendance. Nothing suspicious was found.

Officers also conducted a search at an address in Barton Walk, Crawley, in connection with the incident.

Chief Inspector Shane Baker, of the Crawley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said:

“I’d personally like to thank everyone who helped to quickly bring this incident to a safe conclusion, especially the two members of college staff whose heroics have not gone unnoticed. They put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect their students, fellow employees and the wider public, and I am hugely grateful for their quick-thinking actions.

“During this, they sustained minor injuries – not gunshot wounds – and presented themselves to a walk-in medical centre. Thankfully, no other injuries were reported, and no damage was caused by the blank shots fired.

“We are treating this as an isolated incident which was not terror-related, and while we are not seeking anyone else in connection with it, we will continue to provide a high visibility police presence in the area for community reassurance.

“We are also working with the college and the local authority to manage the welfare and wellbeing of those involved – including students – who will have been understandably shocked by this experience.

“Our enquiries are ongoing into this criminal investigation, and anyone with any information is urged to report it online or call 101, quoting Operation Reset.

Crawley College is assisting Sussex Police with its investigation, and has confirmed that the college will be closed until at least Thursday 29 April.

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41-year-old man arrested in Crawley after reports of threats made with knife

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Police responded to a report of a man with a knife making threats inside a property at Wren Court, Tilgate Way, Crawley at 10.45am on Thursday (15 July).

Officers attended and safely detained the suspect, a 41-year-old man. No injuries have been reported. 

Chief Inspector Shane Baker; District Commander for Crawley said:

“We are thankful to the public for their patience and understanding while this incident was ongoing.

“During this incident, a distraction device was used, which may have caused some alarm and disruption to residents.

“We would like to assure the public that nobody was harmed and there is not believed to be any ongoing threat to the local community at this time.”

Anyone with information can report it online or call 101, quoting 482 of 15/07.

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