Officer thought London attacker was about to kill him as he shot
A rookie firearms officer has told an inquest how he fell over and shot one of the London Bridge terrorists on the ground through his legs fearing he was about to be killed.
The City of London Police officer, known as BX44, told jurors that the confrontation with Khuram Butt (27), Rachid Redouane (30) and Youssef Zaghba (22) was his first spontaneous firearms incident.
As he got out of an armed response vehicle (ARV) at Stoney Street at Borough Market, he saw three Asian men with large knives emerging from a crowd "closing us down", he said.
He fired first at Butt because he thought he was about to kill his colleague BX46, who was first out of their ARV.
Giving evidence anonymously at the Old Bailey, BX44 said: "The red dot (from the gun's sights) was on him but there was very little reaction and I was surprised he was still coming. I continued to track him and fire shots until I had to break away to deal with Rachid Redouane who at this point was closing us down and was about to kill another colleague, BX45.
"The red dot was on him. I fired shots and there was no immediate reaction. I carried on firing until I had to deal with the third threat of Youssef Zaghba who was on top of me.
"I was backing away trying to create a reactionary gap when I fired and fell backwards and as I fell backwards I fired and from the floor I fired through my legs up to his chest.
"I thought he was about to kill me."
Afterwards, he kicked Zaghba's hand away from his chest, as he assumed he was about to detonate an explosive belt, before moving on to support BX46, he said.
BX44 told how minutes after the first burst of gunfire, he saw Butt's chest rise and fall.
He said: "I did not see his hands but his arms started to move down slowly towards the suicide vest.
"I thought he was going to detonate. I fired shots. They were aimed shots."
Butt, Redouane and Zaghba were all shot 10 minutes after embarking on a van and knife attack which left eight dead and 48 injured.
The inquest continues.