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  • It just went crazy.

  • And the whole thing was like a split second thing.

  • And I remember sitting there, lying there thinking

  • I'm not going to die here. I'm not dying here.

  • My name's Leroy Smith and I'm here today to do an interview

  • with the BBC about an incident what happened over 20 years ago.

  • I'm James Seymour. I'm a retired police officer,

  • now a member of police staff training police drivers.

  • I grew up with my grandma. My mum got murdered when I was two.

  • And I left school from about 13,

  • started doing burglaries, robberies,

  • and went to prison, got four months.

  • Came back out, same thing again. And this cycle just continued.

  • I grew up in Kent. Came from a very religious background

  • where it literally the Ten Commandments were taken as they were,

  • had no telly, no radio.

  • By the time I got to late teens,

  • I decided I wanted to move out and do something.

  • So it was either the armed forces or the police.

  • In the 90s Brixton was - and still is - a dangerous place.

  • The whole community is violent and society is violent in general.

  • But I was just at the time more violent than everybody else.

  • Because I realised that that's the way that you get things done.

  • There's a lot of deep feelings, especially at Brixton

  • from the 1981 riots, that were still running very deep.

  • You could literally feel the tension

  • that any slightest thing and this could go quite nasty.

  • I know that I wanted,

  • myself and my colleague, wanted to look for some overtime

  • and the easiest way to do that would be a simple drugs arrest.

  • We did a textbook stop, back-to-back, separated them.

  • And I said,

  • I ain't got nothing to hide or something along them lines

  • And I had things to hide.

  • He dropped something on the floor that I thought was crack cocaine.

  • So I went to push him against the wall

  • so I could take hold of the evidence.

  • It just went crazy.

  • And the whole thing was like a split second thing.

  • So it wasn't like,

  • I planned it.

  • It just happened.

  • He pulled a handgun from his waistband,

  • hit my colleague in the leg.

  • And it's one of those things where everything's in slow motion.

  • This isn't really happening.

  • This is just a nightmare. I'm going to wake up in a minute.

  • You know, the alarm's going to go off.

  • But it is reality. And it was just a surge of adrenaline.

  • When you live like that, you're not thinking about other people.

  • You think about yourself.

  • It's a self-centred world that you're living in.

  • The gunman then fired a third shot, which hit me about

  • a centimetre from the spine, went across the top of a kidney,

  • then ripped out the side of my flesh outside of my body.

  • I remember sitting there, lying there thinking

  • I'm not going to die here. I'm not dying here.

  • The two officers, PC Simon Carroll and PC Jim Seymour, are in hospital.

  • They stopped to question two men who were on a motorbike

  • and both officers were fired at by the pillion passenger.

  • I knew Simon was quite bad by the way he screamed.

  • So I tried to get to him.

  • But the pain was too bad. I just couldn't move.

  • That is a long time and I just thought to myself

  • I'm never getting out.

  • That's what I thought - I thought I'm never getting out.

  • I read it. Some of it I didn't agree with.

  • Some of it I found really interesting. And I thought,

  • if he is actually wants to make a difference to people's lives,

  • I will support him

  • and let him know that I agree with what you're doing.

  • And I hope you have changed because I always wanted that.

  • This just feels weird.

  • You haven't come back at all then?

  • Nah, I always try to avoid Brixton if I can, to be honest.

  • I've been back a couple of times,

  • but it seems a bit strange being here with you.

  • Yeah, man. I didn't realise how it would feel so, so heavy on my heart.

  • That's the truth.

  • Now that I'm here, I'm kind of lost for words -

  • that's not normally like me.

  • I'm pleased Leroy's doing it with me. You know, it's his moment.

  • Another moment in my life I won't ever forget.

  • If it was me, I wouldn't forgive someone,

  • so if it was a situation now where something was happening,

  • I would put my life in harm's way for him if I had to

  • without hesitation, because of everything what's happened.

  • That's the truth.

  • I accept some of my colleagues are not going to support what I'm doing

  • because, I don't know, that they might be "old school" and think

  • well, he shot two police officers - they should throw the key away.

  • But for me, that's just very narrow-minded.

  • Just forgiving Leroy, it's been amazing.

  • It's made him feel good. It's made me feel good.

  • You know, when I was suffering PTSD,

  • it wasn't just because of the shooting

  • it was due to a number of horrific incidents that I dealt with.

  • But now, without doubt, it's one of the best things I've done in my life.

  • I shot the man point blank, a policeman.

  • I don't know him from nowhere. Our paths have collided.

  • I'm a gun man. I'm a bad man. He's a law man.

  • And now I can class him as a friend.

It just went crazy.

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A2 brixton leroy police violent man shot

Why I’m friends with the man who shot me | BBC Ideas

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    Summer posted on 2020/11/05
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