West Midlands Police officer says he feared for his life as suspect pointed ‘gun’ in his face

A police officer has described how he feared for his life when a man appeared to point a gun at his face and threaten to shoot him.

Sergeant Tony Webb, of West Midlands Police, was responding to reports of a disturbance in Erdington, Birmingham, with a colleague just before midnight on 13 April.

He saw a man grabbing a woman by the neck and then throwing her to the floor before kicking her in the ribs.

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Sergeant Tony Webb says he feared for his life

Sgt Webb gave chase and followed the man to a property, where he turned and pointed a handgun-shaped object in the officer’s face and threatened to “blast” him.

Bodycam footage shows armed officers detaining the gunman, Andrew Cullen, moments later.

One officer runs after Cullen after passing a woman crying on the floor, before approaching him and shouting: “He’s got a gun! Drop it now!”

More officers approach and Cullen lifts his hands into the air, places the apparent weapon on the floor, and crouches down.

It was actually a realistic-looking BB gun.

“It was a very scary situation… I thought the man was pointing a viable firearm at me,” Sgt Webb said.

Armed police officers approach Cullen and shout: "He's got a gun! Drop it now!"
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Armed police officers approach Cullen and shout: ‘He’s got a gun! Drop it now!’

“I’ve recovered and handled numerous firearms during my police career, and there was nothing in the appearance of the gun that gave me any impression it was anything other than genuine,” the officer added.

“Thankfully, the ARV (armed response vehicle) was close by and the officers arrived within a few seconds.

“Looking back at the footage, it demonstrates the amazing decision-making and restraint shown by the three firearms officers. They needed to make split-second decisions when faced with an armed threat and dealt with it superbly.

“Cullen is clearly a man who is willing to use serious violence. I’m hugely grateful for the speedy arrival of my armed colleagues.”

Cullen was sentenced to three years and three months in jail after he admitted possessing an imitation gun with the intent to cause fear of violence, plus assaulting the woman
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Cullen was sentenced to three years and three months in jail

Chief Inspector Jason Nunn, from the firearms unit, said: “This video demonstrates the split-second decisions officers are faced with, in fast moving and dynamic situations, every day when encountering armed or potentially armed subjects.

“It’s a testament to their professionalism and the high level of training they receive that they were able to bring this incident to a safe conclusion.”

On Friday, Cullen, 42, was sentenced to three years and three months in jail after he admitted possessing an imitation gun with the intent to cause fear of violence, plus assaulting the woman.

Detective Constable Ian Phillips said: “The woman was subjected to a horrific assault. She was thrown quite some distance by Cullen, banging her head, followed by two strong kicks. She was lucky not to be seriously hurt.

“It was a vicious, cowardly attack and it’s right Cullen has been handed a jail term.”

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