A former Devon and Cornwall Police officer is to be awarded The King’s Gallantry Medal for his braveness during the Keyham shootings in Plymouth.

Police Constable Zach Printer was on duty unarmed with the force’s Road Policing Team when he self-deployed to the incident in Keyham on August 12, 2021.

Zach was the driver of a marked patrol vehicle accompanied by another officer when he heard about a reported shooting and responded immediately.

When they attended the scene, they saw one of the victims, who was severely injured. Zach stopped his vehicle and ran towards them and realised the victim had suffered a significant gunshot wound to her abdomen.

Whilst he attended to the victim, Zach became aware that the assailant had returned with a shotgun. Straight away he tried to move the assailant, trying to divert his attention away from other members of the public in the immediate vicinity.

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However, the assailant held the shotgun under his chin with one of his fingers around the trigger. Zach continued to move towards the assailant, he appeared to nod in the direction of the police constable.

Zach continued to run towards the assailant, but the assailant was fatally injured.

He then returned to the injured woman, while continuing CPR. as well as directly assisting the doctor whilst surgery was conducted in the street. Zach drove with the injured woman’s husband, who had arrived at the scene, to the hospital and remained at the hospital for some time, supporting the husband.

The woman’s injuries were not survivable, and she sadly died in hospital.

Zach retired from frontline duties in February 2022 and now works as a Police Enquiry Officer at Crownhill Police Station.

The former Royal Marine was first told in March this year that a recommendation had been put forward by the George Cross Committee for his bravery during the devastating incident.

Zach said: “I’m immensely proud. The nomination came as a bolt out of the blue; you don’t know who has put this forward.

“I felt absolutely elated when I received the news but in the same vein, I was very conscious there were other first-responders who were there with me at the time.

“To be awarded is such an honour, and the prospect of going to Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle to receive it from a member of the Royal Family would be the highlight of anyone’s career.

“I would like to wish all of the families and those affected by the event of that day well.”

Zach is looking forward to receiving the medal – at a venue and on a date to be confirmed – with his wife and three grown-up sons. 

He has also received a commendation from the HM Coroner for Plymouth Torbay and South Devon for his actions on August 21, was the recipient of a Chief Constable’s commendation and was nominated for a national Police Bravery Award in July.

Devon & Cornwall Police Acting Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “The courageous and selfless actions of first responders like Zach Printer amid the most horrendous of circumstances on 12 August 2021 show the very best of policing, but also the very best of humankind.

“We are very proud that Zach is to be awarded The King's Gallantry Medal for his actions.

“I am truly humbled to be able to consider Zach – and all those who responded to the unfolding tragedy that day - as colleagues.”