Teenager arrested after 'shots fired' near Crawley College

26 April 2021, 15:55 | Updated: 27 April 2021, 00:42

By Kate Buck

An 18-year-old has been arrested at Crawley College in West Sussex following reports of gunshots.

Emergency services raced to the area at 3.10pm on Monday following 999 calls, and a knife and firearm were seized.

Two staff members were treated for non life-threatening injuries, neither of them gunshot wounds.

Armed units from the Metropolitan Police were also deployed to the area.

People are being asked to keep away from the area and staff and students have been evacuated from the scene.

A man has been detained following reports of shots being fired near Crawley College in West Sussex, police have confirmed
A man has been detained following reports of shots being fired near Crawley College in West Sussex, police have confirmed. Picture: LBC

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: "Two college staff members were treated for minor injuries. These were not gunshot wounds.

"Pupils and staff were evacuated to a safe space while police carried out a search of the buildings."

James, a Crawley College student who did not wish to share his second name, praised his teacher for keeping his class calm following the gunshots.

"I was doing my work at the time then suddenly heard some gunshots from the very bottom of the tower," the 19-year-old, who was on the sixth floor of the building, said.

James said police arrived just a few minutes later and although the experience was scary he "felt calm and safe" thanks to his teacher and the fast response from police - who later helped to evacuate his class.

"It's a really new experience and felt really scary due to there being a gun around where I'm doing my college work," he said.

"The teacher, he barricaded the room's door just in case and I have a lot of trust in him, since we were far up the tower I felt safer too.

"(I'm) just thankful that we had brave teachers and police around."

Chief Superintendent Howard Hodges said: "We continue to have a large policing presence in Crawley and are appealing for anyone with information to come forward.

"Two staff members at the college suffered minor injuries and presented themselves to a walk-in medical centre.

"No-one else has presented themselves to us with injuries but if you need medical assistance please contact the ambulance service or speak to an officer.

"We are liaising with officers at Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE). All lines of inquiry are open at this stage."

Police were liaising with counter-terror specialists, but they later announced that it is not being treated as a terrorist incident.

Later in the evening, bomb disposal units were seen arriving at the college.

A statement from Sussex Police at the time of the incident said: "Police have responded to reports of gun shot fire near Crawley College.Police received multiple calls shortly after 3.10pm.

"One man has been detained at the scene by police.

"People are asked to stay away from the area.Staff and students are being evacuated away from the college.

"Two people have suffered injuries, but these are not believed to be serious."

Crawley College said in a statement on Twitter: "We are aware of an incident at Crawley College this afternoon. Sussex Police are present on the scene and a man has been detained.

"We are awaiting further information from the police. We are not aware of any serious injuries. Our priority remains the safety of students and staff."