16 Oct 2019

Mosque attack: Officers who captured alleged gunman 'were doing our job'

12:43 pm on 16 October 2019

The two police officers who captured and arrested the alleged Christchurch mosque gunman have spoken out for the first time.

Armed police at a cordon in Christchurch.

The officers were both given the New Zealand Police Association Bravery Award by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: RNZ/Dan Cook

The officers, who have name suppression, said they were just doing their job and said their families were proud of what they were able to do.

They were both given the New Zealand Police Association Bravery Award by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in Wellington at a private ceremony during the association's 84th annual conference this morning.

In receiving the awards, the officers said they were proud of the way New Zealanders united after the 15 March terror attack.

The officers also paid tribute to the victims of the attack.

"To those families who were torn apart by this event, through death or injury, our hearts go out to you all. As officers our job is to keep New Zealanders safe so when we can't do that, it cuts deep."

The officers said in doing their job, they represented all police staff across Aotearoa.

"We were doing our job and were part of a huge and focused operation which resulted in the arrest of the alleged gunman.

"In doing our job we represented all police staff around the country who put themselves in harm's way every day. This includes those who have gone before us who set the bar high for the rest of us to meet," the officers said.

"We have known each other for many years, including playing many games of rugby together, and had total trust in each other's abilities, and total faith that the other would do their job and continue to go forward regardless of what we encountered."

Police Association president Chris Cahill said all police staff were incredibly proud of the courageous actions of their two colleagues.

"All officers wonder how they would respond when faced with a split-second decision to risk their lives," Mr Cahill said.

"These two officers have answered that question by responding with outstanding bravery which protected many others from further harm."

"I am sure all New Zealanders will join the association in thanking these officers for their truly courageous actions," Mr Cahill said.

With a good knowledge of Christchurch and as experienced police officers, they had the foresight to consider potential escape options.

At that stage, they did not know if there was more than one offender, but the officers believed there was already a good chance the offender, or offenders, would have left the mosques.

"For us, knowing we played our part in possibly preventing further casualties is really important," the officers said.

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