Gunman wanted to die when he ran at armed police, court hears

A gunman obsessed with mass shootings said he was trying to commit suicide by provoking armed officers into killing him when he ran at them with a pistol, a court heard.

Police were searching Reed Wischhusen’s home having had a tip-off about weapons when he confronted them with a pistol.

The two armed officers warned the 32-year-old to put down the handgun, but as he continued to come down the stairs towards them he was shot three times in November last year.

Reed Wischhusen
Reed Wischhusen told police he wanted to die when he confronted armed officers at his home holding a handgun (Elizabeth Cook/PA)

When that suicide attempt failed, he ran down the stairs to confront the Avon and Somerset officers with the firearm held aloft, Bristol Crown Court heard.

The Lidl warehouse worker spent several months in hospital, and it was not until March that he was well enough to be interviewed by detectives, Bristol Crown Court heard.

In a prepared statement, Wischhusen said: “I make this statement knowing it may be given in evidence. This was a suicide attempt. I’ve always had suicidal thoughts.

“When in the bathroom I shot myself in the head, trying to kill myself. I ran at the officers hoping they would kill me. I have nothing further to say.”

In further interviews the defendant confirmed he had thought about killing himself with a firearm “since he was small”.

The jury has been told police found several weapons, as well as body armour and a deactivated hand grenade, when they searched the property Wischhusen shared with his father.

Wischhusen told detectives he had a “passion for firearms and weapons” and was a member of a gun club and shot regularly.

The firearm he used on the day of his arrest he had converted to fire live ammunition, which he had done to “get back” at the firearms licensing department that refused his shotgun application, he told police.

Reed Wischhusen
Reed Wischhusen had a police uniform and weapons at his home in North Somerset (Avon and Somerset Police/PA)

The jury has previously been told Wischhusen was fascinated with mass shootings and infamous killers such as Dunblane gunman Thomas Hamilton and Raoul Moat.

It is alleged he had drawn up plans to carry out a “hitman-style attack” on his former school in a document he had called “Revenge”.

Jurors heard phase one of Wischhusen’s alleged revenge plan was to kill 10 people using a converted pistol with a silencer while wearing disguised clothing and a wig.

Wischhusen told detectives: “With regard to the document in my computer called ‘Revenge’, it’s a fantasy story.

“I accept it is not the most reasoned piece of thinking and includes me killing myself twice, but I have absolutely no intention of doing anything about it.

“I wrote it to amuse myself. I repeat I have never harmed anyone at any time in my life and have never wanted to harm anyone else.”

The jury also heard from inquiry officer Richard Stamp, who took receipt of a bag of weapons handed in by a member of the public at Nailsea police station during a firearms amnesty in May 2022.

“I took the bag off him and went back to the office and started to look in the bag,” he said.

“The bag was so heavy I left it on the floor, and I was taking things out of the bag one by one.

“My first thought was disbelief – there was a semi-automatic machine gun. I thought, ‘Good God what is that? This is not your run of the mill gun to hand in’.”

In total there were six weapons – a homemade machine gun, a machine gun in bits and four pistols – as well as ammunition.

The court heard the member of the public, who was in his 20s or 30s, left the police station without giving his details, which was allowed under the amnesty.

Wischhusen, of Wick Road, Wick St Lawrence, denies charges of having an explosive substance with intent to endanger life, having an explosive substance, possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life, possessing ammunition with intent to endanger life and possessing a prohibited firearm without a certificate.

The trial continues.

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