The hero police officer who shot dead four terrorists as they attacked pedestrians with an axe and knives in Cambrils, Spain, is a former soldier, it emerged on Sunday.
The married officer, who is not being identified for his own protection, served with the Legion – an elite infantry unit of the Spanish army.
He received extensive firearms training during his time at the Legion, including the use of rifles, machine guns and pistols.
The officer, now with the Catalan police force the Mossos d’Esquadra, was on patrol working overtime when five terrorists launched an attack in the seaside town of Cambrils.
The officer (pictured circled above), now with the Catalan police force the Mossos d’Esquadra, was on patrol working overtime when five terrorists launched an attack in the seaside town of Cambrils, Spain
The jihadis ploughed an Audi A3 into pedestrians on a promenade before crashing into a police checkpoint – overturning the vehicle and injuring one officer, who suffered a broken leg. The terrorists then jumped out armed with an axe and knives.
Using his army training and experience, the officer pulled his weapon and shot dead four of them, probably saving dozens of lives.
The fifth terrorist stabbed a woman in the neck and fled before he was shot by another officer.
El Mundo newspaper described the officer as being ‘very quiet, not the Rambo prototype of an elite officer’.
He is married with children, and was only on duty because he was working overtime to earn some extra money for his family.
The Mossos had drafted extra officers in to patrol the town, on the Costa Dorada 75 miles south west of Barcelona, this summer because of the raised terror threat.
The hero officer normally works on patrol and gives advice to shopkeepers and talks at schools on safety and security.
He is now undergoing counselling with a psychologist following his ordeal in the early hours of Friday morning.
This is the overturned Audi A3 used by a gang of five jihadis in suicide belts who ploughed into crowds in the seaside town of Cambrils
The attack 70 miles from Barcelona came eight hours after 14 were killed in the Catalan city in a van attack
The president of the regional government in Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, personally thanked him during a visit to the police station in Cambrils on Friday.
His fellow officers gave him a spontaneous round of applause.
A police source said: ‘He’s a quiet man who does not consider himself a hero. He says he was just doing his job. But the truth is he saved a great many lives.’
Early reports that said the hero officer was a woman have proved to be incorrect.
Meanwhile, on Sunday it emerged police have found the remains of a third body at the jihadist cell’s bomb factory.
The gang were preparing a massive terrorist ‘spectacular’ using vans packed with butane gas bombs and the explosive triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, known as the Mother of Satan.
But their plan was foiled when they accidentally blew up the house in Alcanar, 125 miles south west of Barcelona, last Wednesday.
Following the explosion they opted for a less sophisticated attack, ploughing into pedestrians on Las Ramblas, killing 13 and injuring more than 100.
Remains from three different bodies have now been found at the house, and detectives are working to identify them.
Islamic preacher Abdelbaki Es Satty, 45, being investigated as the possible leader of the cell, may have been killed in the explosion.