In the Media

Market town lawyer shot in head in office

PUBLISHED July 2, 2012

Police were called to the offices of David Nolder and Co in the quiet market town of Devizes, Wilts., at 3pm yesterday following reports of a firearms incident.

They found a victim - believed to be a solicitor at the practice - still alive but suffering from a gunshot wound to the head.

He was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, where his condition was last night described as life-threatening.

It is believed the victim was shot at his desk inside the solicitor's office - with stray bullets hitting nearby windows.

The far-right glass window on the first floor of the building, which also houses another legal firm, was smashed in the shooting.

A male suspect fled the scene in a car but was arrested around 35 minutes later by armed police in the nearby village of Rowde.

A spokesman from Wiltshire Police confirmed: "A male walked into the offices of David Nolder and Co in St John's Street, armed with a weapon, and shot a male.

"The offender drove off in a car but was arrested at approximately 3.35pm without a struggle by armed officers in Rowde.

"He is now in custody at Melksham Police Station. We recovered a weapon which we believe was used in the incident.

"The victim has sustained what are believed to be life threatening injuries and was airlifted to Frenchay Hospital for treatment."

The centre of the town was closed as firearms officers and an ambulance raced to the scene.

Locals described hearing a loud bang - sounding like a car backfiring.

Simon Fisher, deputy town clerk at Devizes Town Council, said: "Someone came into the town hall and said there's been a shooting.

"A short time before that some of us heard a bang - it sounded like a car backfiring or a car bumping into another car.

"One of our staff saw a male being carried out on a stretcher.

"The area around the town hall is cordoned off."

Colin Garrett, manager of Edwin Giddings, in St John's Street, added: "It's a bit of a shock - it's not the sort of thing you would expect here.

"Details are sketchy but apparently someone walked in with a shotgun and he discharged it.

"I'm not sure if he was the intended target or if they were trying to diffuse the situation.

"Unfortunately solicitors deal with stressful situations which they are trying to sort out. I believe the man was known to them because he was arrested quickly.

"The police are not allowing anyone near the scene as they are gathering evidence.

"Apparently the ambulance taking the injured person was given a police escort."

A spokesman said: "We received a 999 call at 2.58pm reporting a man had been injured in an incident involving a firearm in office premises in St John's Street, Devizes.

"A paramedic in a rapid-response vehicle was on scene at 3.04pm, backed up by other resources, including ambulance crew, doctor, air ambulance and duty officers to liaise with other emergency services.

"The patient sustained serious, life-threatening injuries.

"He was treated and stabilised on scene before being conveyed to Frenchay Hospital by the Great Western Air Ambulance, with a critical care paramedic and critical care doctor on board."

Those in local community expressed their shock after the incident and said they were praying for the victim.

Steph Wilkes, posting on Twitter, said: "Thoughts go out to the family and friends of the man who got shot in Devizes earlier. Prayers are with you all."