Teenager pleads guilty over armed incident at Crawley College

·2 min read

A teenager who sparked panic when he walked into a college carrying a gun and a knife has pleaded guilty.

Sandijs Dreimanis, 18, pointed the imitation firearm at a member of staff and pulled the trigger during dramatic scenes at Crawley College in April 2020.

He did so with the intention of being shot by armed police, prosecutors said previously.

As dozens of firearms officers went to the scene, a teacher and their colleague tackled the teenager, sustaining minor injuries.

Crawley College incident
Police at Crawley College (Yui Mok/PA)

No serious injuries were reported during the incident and a blank firing handgun and a knife were seized by police.

Dreimanis appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Monday and pleaded guilty to to possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

At a previous hearing he admitted two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and possession of a bladed article on a school premises, it can now be reported, after restrictions were lifted.

Dreimanis had armed himself with the imitation firearm and a knife and entered the college, the prosecution told a previous hearing.

After walking around the campus he took out the firearm and pointed it at a member of staff and pulled the trigger.

Gunshots were heard ringing out on the college premises, sparking a huge police response, with dozens of armed officers going to the scene.

A video shared on Snapchat seen by the PA news agency appears to show someone being held on the ground by several others outside the college, while the person holding the camera says “my man had a knife and a gun”.

Crawley College incident
Armed police at Crawley College (Yui Mok/PA)

James, a Crawley College student who did not wish to give his second name, praised his teacher for keeping his class calm following the gunshots.

He told the PA news agency: “The teacher, he barricaded the room’s door just in case and I have a lot of trust in him, since we were far up the tower I felt safer too.

“(I’m) just thankful that we had brave teachers and police around.”

Officers liaised with counter-terror specialists but later said it was not being treated as a terrorist incident.

Dreimanis was charged and appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court in April 2020, where prosecutor Melanie Wotton said he had made “full admissions” in police interviews.

She told the court that Dreimanis had “wanted the armed police officers to attend and for him to be shot”.

The teenager had been due to go on trial over the charge of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence but changed his plea on Monday.

Dreimanis is due to be sentenced on March 11 at Lewes Crown Court.

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