Two unarmed female officers killed in Manchester18/09/2012 - 15:16:14
One of Britain's most wanted men gave himself up to police today after two unarmed female officers were killed attending a “routine incident” in Manchester.
Eyewitnesses said a hail of bullets was fired and a grenade was thrown during the attack in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, shortly before 11am. One of the officers died at the scene. The second was critically injured and died later.
Soon after the attack, Dale Cregan, 29, who was being hunted in connection with separate gun and grenade attacks that killed a father and son, walked into a nearby police station.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan said: “A long and dark shadow has been cast across Greater Manchester and my thoughts are with the officers’ family, friends and colleagues.”
Cregan, who only has one eye, had been the subject of a huge manhunt after the murders of David Short, 46, and his son Mark, 23. A £50,000 reward had been offered for information leading to his arrest.
David Short was killed at his home in Folkestone Road East, Clayton, Manchester, on August 10, while Mark was gunned down at the Cotton Tree pub in nearby Droylsden, on May 25.
Police said the two officers had been attending an incident at Abbey Gardens in Hattersley, Tameside. The force did not give any details of the incident but described it as “routine”.
Police said there were reports that shots were fired and the two officers both suffered serious injuries.
In a statement, the force added: “A short time later, 29-year-old Dale Cregan was arrested after he walked into a police station in Tameside.
“Cregan has been arrested on suspicion of two counts of murder in relation to the investigations into the murders of David Short and Mark Short. He has also been arrested on suspicion of the murder of a police officer.”
ACC Shewan announced the first death at a hastily arranged press conference at force headquarters.
About an hour later, he issued another statement announcing that the second officer had also died.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said that the killing of two police officers in Manchester was “a shocking reminder of the debt we owe to those who put themselves in danger to keep us safe and secure”.
The scene around the shooting in Abbey Gardens was cordoned off with a heavy police presence today.
A fleet of vans and ambulances were parked at the top of the road as a helicopter hovered overhead.
Traffic was blocked from coming on to the estate up to half a mile away.
'Gun shots, pause, then big explosion'
A 27-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, said her ex-boyfriend witnessed the shootings.
She said it happened outside the address of a man who, she said, knew Cregan.
She said: “He (her ex-boyfriend) was a bit shook up when I saw him.”
She said he was walking back from the doctor’s when he heard someone he knew shout to him, adding: “Then someone has come outside the house ... and shot two officers and then he threw a grenade in the garden.
“He (her ex-boyfriend) said the officers hit the floor.
“Cregan then got into a silver BMW and drove off but he must have then gone on foot shortly after because my friend saw him on Stringer Avenue, which is only down the road.”
It is believed that Cregan handed himself in to police.
Local window cleaner Warren Shepherd was on his rounds close to where the officers were shot.
“I just heard gun shots, bang, bang, bang – around 10 of them, then a pause and a big explosion,” he said.
“I went around the back of the houses to see what happened and there was a police car that looked empty.
“There was people, neighbours stood around there and one of my customers said, ’They’ve been shot! The police officers have been shot!”’
Mr Shepherd said he went back to his van but could see the aftermath through a gap between two houses.
He added: “I saw one body covered up and going into the back of the ambulance. I saw another body on a trolley and it looked like they were doing heart compressions on the body, and I had had enough by then.
“It was like something on the movies. It’s just so sad for the family of the two police women. Both lost their lives just doing their jobs and my heart goes out to their families and I know people around here will feel the same.”
Mr Shepherd said the house where the incident took place was the former home of a customer of his, an elderly woman who died around six months ago.
The property, a council house, had been left empty but there had been some recent activity with the windows covered in whitewash suggesting the house was being decorated.
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