Shot police officer 'a hero'

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The police officer shot dead yesterday morning in Shewsbury has been praised for his "bravery, determination and professionalism".

Constable Richard Gray, a 43-year-old armed response officer, died shortly after 06:10 BST yesterday as he attempted to rescue two officers held at gunpoint after a domestic incident in Shrewsbury's Castlefields area..

Peter Medlicott, 33, from Shrewsbury was the other man who died in the New Park Road incident. His .222 calibre rifle was "legally held", West Mercia police said, for use in his occupation as a rat-catcher.

Chief Constable Paul West revealed today that PC Gray had won five police commendations during his four years of service with West Mercia police.

"In itself, that speaks volumes for the sort of man Ricky was and for his dedication and commitment to duty," he said.

Among his award-winning actions were rescuing two women from the River Severn, arresting an unstable man armed with a firearm and arresting a violent man armed with a semi-automatic weapon.

These occurred between April and July 2006, shortly before PC Gray married his long-term partner Jenny in a ceremony in Venice in August. He had two grown-up sons from a previous marriage, Ch Const West said.

"He was very popular with his colleagues, extremely well-liked and held in the highest regard," he added.

"All of his colleagues… are devastated by his tragic death, particularly those close colleagues who worked with him in his shift in Shrewsbury."

He added that support from members of the community and from police forces up and down the UK were gratefully received.

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