An expression of horror… and compassion. A sea of floral tributes at the Deans Avenue Mosque. Photo: Christchurch City Council Newsline

Heroes are local officers

by Mike Isle

The two police officers who arrested the alleged killer of 50 people at two Christchurch mosques on Friday are both believed to be stationed in Selwyn. The Record has chosen not to identify them or exactly where they are located. Nor will we give further publicity to the alleged perpetrator by naming him.

The officers’ commanding officer said he was “incredibly proud” of the actions of the two, whom he described as highly experienced and “just doing their job”.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has already indicated that the two officers and other first-responders would be honoured and recognised for their roles during the horrific attack. What form that would take or whether it would involve a public or private ceremony is not yet known.

The arrest was filmed by a motorist driving past the scene in Brougham Road in Sydenham about 3pm last Friday afternoon.

The video shows the two officers, both in uniform, dragging a man from a car and one restraining him while the other covered him with a firearm.

It has since been revealed that both officers were armed after travelling from their Selwyn bases to attend a course at Princess Margaret Hospital on how to deal with armed offenders.

After the course, the officers elected to stay in Christchurch and help search for the killer.

The Record understands that the officers predicted the possible route the offender would take after he killed seven people at the Linwood Mosque, and moments later spotted a suspicious car being driven erratically along Brougham Road. After confirming that the registration number was of the car they were looking for, the officers used their police vehicle to ram the car on the driver’s side and extracted the alleged offender through the passenger door.

The offender’s car was perceived to be a risk, and explosive devices were believed to be in vehicles, the two officers had the additional challenge of safeguarding civilians to the scene and warning other officers who were arriving to assist.

Footage of the arrest has been widely circulated in local media and has brought worldwide acclaim, including that of NZ Police Commissioner Mike Bush.

It would appear that the two persons least affected by their incredible bravery were the two police officers. Their local commander in Selwyn said one of them rang him after the arrest to say they had damaged a police car.