AN OFF-DUTY soldier who disarmed a gunman threatening a crowd of shoppers in Southampton city centre has been recognised for his bravery.

Captain Karl Williams heard “hysterical screaming” before spotting a man pointing a firearm towards a “petrified crowd” in Above Bar Street.

However, the 42-year-old took the gunman to the ground.

He disarmed him and pinned him down until police arrived during the “fight or flight scenario”.

Daily Echo:

Capt Williams, who was born in Southampton but lives in Salisbury, said: “For a brief second I saw his attention wasn’t on anyone else and that this was the brief opportunity I could safely engage.”

The hero, who had been shopping when the ordeal happened on April 16 last year, has now received an award for his “unconditional bravery”.

Capt Williams, who serves with the Royal Logistic Corps, said: “On hearing loud hysterical screaming nearby, I cautiously approached the incident and observed a highly agitated man pointing a firearm towards a crowd of people in a threatening manner.

“The crowd were petrified, and I was unable to intercept the aggressor immediately due to the potential for exacerbating the situation and placing the crowd in greater danger.

“I monitored the situation from a distance before engaging the aggressor as he began to back away from the crowd and reach into his bag.

Daily Echo:

“It was at that point that I took him to the ground, disarming and restraining him in the process.”

After grappling with the gunman, Karl went on to make the firearm safe only to realise it was a replica.

He has now been recognised with a Queen’s Commendation for Bravery in the latest Armed Forces Operational Awards.

Scott Hanyours, 48, of Milbrook Road East, Southampton later admitted to possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and assault by beating.

He was jailed for 12 months at Southampton Crown Court in June last year.