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'Body found' in hunt for gunman
Police hunting for a man suspected of killing an off-duty officer are searching a village green amid reports that a body has been found.
Pc Ian Dibell was shot dead and a member of the public sustained leg injuries after a gunman struck in a residential street in the seaside town of Clacton in Essex on Monday.
Police released a photograph of suspect Peter Reeve, 64, and vowed to "not rest" until he was captured and taken into custody.
But on Tuesday Essex Police called a press conference to make a "significant update" about the hunt for Reeve amid reports that a body had been found in Writtle, near Chelmsford.
Richard Preston, who works at a nearby car dealership, said: "There were lots of police cars and ambulances, and one helicopter.
"It was around the village green area."
According to reports, a body was found in the grounds of All Saints Church, which is located alongside the village green.
Detectives launched a round-the-clock search involving armed response units and scores of officers after Pc Dibell, 41, was shot in Redbridge Road at around 3.40pm on Monday.
The force said it had found the suspected gunman's vehicle at a nearby road junction.
Essex Police Chief Constable Jim Barker-McCardle described Pc Dibell as a "brave, respected and experienced neighbourhood officer" and said early indications were that he lost his life after deliberately intervening in an "extremely deadly situation".
He would not give the fine details of the altercation, but reports suggest the off-duty officer had challenged the gunman, who was chasing a man and woman along Redbridge Road, where it is believed the dead policeman lived.
Speaking about Pc Dibell at the force's Chelmsford headquarters yesterday, the chief constable said: "This officer is a highly regarded and much loved colleague who has been a important part of Essex Police for 10 years.
"Policing is a family and we are all hurting. This dreadful event reminds us all that policing is a mission that ultimately some die for."
Mr Barker-McCardle said that members of Pc Dibell's family were also in the police force.
The manhunt, conducted alongside Kent Police, continued overnight, with local officers deployed to protect the public and maintain a strong presence in the area of the killing. A number of police helicopters were also involved in the operation.
A police cordon was in place and a white tent stood where Pc Dibell was shot.
Earlier a group of 20 neighbours were led away from nearby properties by forensic officers and gave their details before leaving the scene.
A local resident told the BBC that she and her next door neighbour heard a woman screaming then what they thought were five or six gunshots. Another local, Eric Long, 80, said he saw the gunman from his window.
He told reporters: "I saw him standing with some kind of revolver. He was chasing somebody, firing as he went."
Eyewitness Andrew Gallehawk told ITV's Daybreak: "I saw a black guy running sort of towards my house.
"Next there was, it looked like a blonde guy, taking aim and made a couple of shots at him.
"Another guy flew past the house, sort of running, and that I assume now is the off-duty policeman.
"And then there were some more shots and then about five or six minutes after that there was a lady who seemed to be screaming in the middle of the road, and then we had all the police."
He added: "It was like one of those Clint Eastwood-type things where you've got the guy sort of crouching slightly on his knees and he's just taken a shot."
The other man injured in the attack is receiving hospital treatment for gunshot wounds to the leg, police said.
Mr Barker-McCardle said reports he was a PCSO were incorrect.
Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: "The death of our colleague in Essex is deeply sad news for the police service. Pc Ian Dibell died while knowingly walking towards danger, as police officers are called upon to do on behalf of the public they serve.
"The courage he showed in stepping up to do his duty, without thought for his own safety, sums up what it means to be a police officer."
Mark Smith, chairman of the Essex Police Federation, added: "Constable Ian Dibell was a dedicated professional officer who, even though off duty, has paid the ultimate sacrifice for his bravery and selfless actions in trying to protect his local community.
"No words can help those closest to Pc Dibell at this terribly distressing time but I hope they will find some comfort in knowing that the loss of this brave man is mourned by the entire police family throughout the United Kingdom."
The former head of Essex Police's firearms unit, Mick Thwaites, paid tribute to Pc Dibell at the scene today.
He said: "It took huge courage and bravery. He responded to a call from the public with no consideration for his own life.
"He stepped in there to help someone in need and tragically, as a consequence of that, he lost his own life."
Home Secretary Theresa May said: "Our police officers keep us safe day in and day out and sadly Pc Ian Dibell has paid the ultimate price.
"I would like to offer my deepest sympathies to the officer's family and to his colleagues in Essex Police at this difficult time."