First pictures of hero teacher and teenage suspect in Crawley College shooting

This is the first picture of a "hero" teacher who bravely confronted a "gunman" at Crawley College.

A masked attacker, who was also armed with a knife, was said to have fired a blank at brave Steve Hopkins, 51.

The 18-year-old was then tackled by a second teacher during the terrifying incident on Monday afternoon. Pictures show him being led away by police after being arrested.

He was then detained and a firearm and a knife were seized, while two members of staff were treated for minor injuries.

The teenager screamed at students to "run for their lives", allegedly repeatedly pointing the gun at them and firing blanks, but as they fled, Mr Hopkins raced out of his classroom to face him down.

Mark Upton, the teacher's neighbour in Crawley, West Sussex, said he was not surprised to hear he had leapt to the defence of his students.

He said the mechanical engineering tutor was a "big guy" who lifts free weights in his garage.

Mr Upton, 70, added: "He’s a nice guy who keeps himself to himself."

The college's principal paid tribute to the bravery of staff, who are said to be at home resting while the campus remained closed on Tuesday.

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Vicki Illingworth said: "Our college community was shaken by the actions that occurred yesterday afternoon.

"I cannot praise the courage, resilience and support shown by our staff enough.

"They have been incredible and the care and compassion they shared with our students and with each other continues to fill me with admiration.

"We can confirm two members of our staff did sustain some minor injuries, which were not gunshot wounds.

"Their heroic actions – and the rapid response of emergency services – helped to protect our college community."

Student Elise Stellebotte, 17, said she left her classroom after hearing several shots ring out before being confronted by the suspected gunman.

She said: "He was wearing a black puma hoodie and a mask. I was only a few yards away and I could see he had this pistol in his hand and was waving it around.

"He pointed the pistol at my tutor, Steve Hopkins, and fired but they were just blanks thank God. He was so shocked.

"He continued ranting and shouting telling people to ‘run, run’. He was trying to scare people, deliberately. Everyone was pretty scared."

Another teenage student, who did not want to be named, said she made a goodbye call to her parents because she feared she would not make it out of the college alive.

The police also paid tribute to the "heroic" staff who helped tackle the armed suspect.

Sussex Police's Chief Inspector Shane Baker said the teachers' "heroics have not gone unnoticed".

He added: "They put themselves in harm's way in order to protect their students, fellow employees and the wider public, and I am hugely grateful for their quick-thinking actions."

Crawley College staff and students have been offered counselling in the wake of the scare.

On Tuesday police continued to search a house in the Crawley neighbourhood of Furnace Green as part of their investigation into the college shooting.

Officers were seen carrying evidence, including a laptop and items of clothing, out of the house along with forensic bags.

Police are continuing to question the 18-year-old and say the incident is not being treated as terrorism.

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