Officers received multiple calls shortly after 3.10pm to reports of gun shots being fired at the college. Armed police quickly rushed to the scene and an 18-year-old man from Crawley was arrested. He remains in custody.
A gun and a knife were seized and two college staff members were treated for minor injuries. Around 30 armed response officers from forces across the southeast were involved in the operation, while a police helicopter hovered overhead.
A parent of one of the college’s pupil’s told The Sun: ‘Pupils were running into other classrooms while they were in lessons in terror saying to others, “have you seen what happened?”
‘A teacher rugby-tackled the gunman. It’s absolutely horrifying.’
Sussex Police confirmed they were liaising with counter terrorism officers as they explore a possible motive.
Students said the gunman, who was also armed with a knife, stabbed one college lecturer in the hand and fired blanks from a pistol directly at another lecturer before being tackled to the ground.
Students said the masked gunman entered Crawley College at around 3.10pm and began waving around large black pistol in the car park.
Elise Stellebotte, 17, who is studying for a motor mechanics diploma, said she and fellow students left their classroom after hearing several shots being fired.
She said: ‘I herd several shots being fired really quickly and everyone dived out of the classroom. I saw the gunman. He was wearing a black Puma hoodie and a mask. I was only a few yards away and I could see he had this pistol in his hand and was waving it around.
‘I don’t think he was very old but he was difficult to see behind the mask and hoodie. He pointed the pistol at my tutor and fired but they were just blanks thank God. He was so shocked.
‘He continued ranting and shouting telling people to ‘Run, run’. He was trying to scare people, deliberately. Everyone was pretty scared.
‘No-one knew what was going on. I didn’t feel to scared so I tried to approach him but we were told to get back in the classroom. Everyone was pretty petrified. We had no idea what was happening and it’s worrying with all the terror attacks you hear about.
‘I heard he stabbed on lecturer in the hand when he tried to tackle him and I also heard he may have also stabbed himself.’