A hero policeman who arrested a knifeman after being stabbed in the chest and stomach in a horror mosque attack spoke for the first time from his hospital bed via Twitter yesterday – to thank surgeons for “putting me back together”.
PC Adam Koch, 31, sustained the injuries after he Tasered the Somali Muslim at the Madrasah Qasim-ul-Uloom mosque in Ward End, Birmingham.
It is thought the 32-year-old knifeman, who was not a regular at the mosque, flipped when the prayers were not performed in the manner of his denomination.
Eyewitnesses said he screamed “Allah is going to punish you all” before plunging a large combat knife into a fellow worshipper’s groin at 11pm on Saturday.
He then stabbed another man in the abdomen before the police officer and a female colleague arrived at the scene.
Despite the male officer shooting the crazed man with a 50,000-volt Taser, the man managed to lash out and stabbed him in the chest and stomach.
Remarkably, the injured officer – who was wearing a stab-proof vest – managed to disarm the suspect and arrest him at the scene before being rushed to hospital himself.
Speaking from his hospital bed-side this morning, PC Koch, who underwent surgery for wounds to his stomach and side, described how the man lunged at him with a commando-style knife.
Despite suffering stab and slash injuries he managed to wrestle him to the ground and eventually prised the knife from his grasp.
He said: “I owe those people a massive debt of thanks. If it wasn’t for their help, bravely running towards a man they’d already seen brandishing a large knife, I may not be here today.
“As soon as I’m back on my feet I intend to visit the mosque and ask the imam to pass on my gratitude to the worshippers who put their own safety in jeopardy to assist me.
“In the end it was a great community effort to overpower the man and arrest him.”
PC Koch and police partner PC Jean Stevens arrived on the scene four minutes after police received reports of a man attacking worshippers at 11pm on Saturday.
It’s understood he wasn’t known to the prayer centre but turned up to join congregation for evening prayers.
PC Koch, from Yardley Wood, Birmingham, added: “He charged towards me with the knife.
“I can remember falling to the floor and wrestling with the man and he tried thrusting the knife into my back.
“I’m waiting to see the damage to my stab vest as I’m convinced it’s helped save my life.
“I managed to grab hold of his wrist and eventually disarm him; it was only then that my partner told me I’d been stabbed and blood was running from my shirt.
“I didn’t feel anything at the time: the adrenaline took over and my focus was purely on stopping this man causing any more damage.
“Thankfully my injuries weren’t as bad as they could have been and I hope to be back on the streets within a few weeks.”
PC Koch has been with West Midlands Police for six years.
It’s not the first time the officer has been praised for bravery.
A a 28-year-old man who suffered multiple stab wounds and a 36-year-old man who had suffered a single stab wound to the thigh.
A third victim suffered a hand injury and is now recovering at home.
PC Koch is due to collect a police bravery award on Thursday for an incident on May 28 last year in which he and three colleagues rescued a critically injured toddler from a gas-filled flat in Shard End, Birmingham.
Inspector John Stolz, who nominated the officers, said that they “risked their lives to protect life and property, resulting in the timely locating of the severely injured child and apprehension of the suspected offender”.
The hero policeman also used a West Midlands Police Twitter account to thank the community for their support.
Using @BhamResponseC, he said: “Borrowing the team account to say a big ‘Thank You’ to all for your tweets of support. It means a lot to know the community has our backs.
“I also want to thank @OFFICIALWMAS for sorting me out at the scene. The gents in the mosque for risking their safety to help me #oneteam.
“I’m currently recovering from my surgery but hope to be back on my feet ASAP. Thanks again to everyone that helped put me back together x”
One witness, who asked not to be named, said the scene at the mosque was like a ‘blood bath’.
He said: “I heard shouting behind me as I was praying. I turned around and saw two men grappling with each other.
“Suddenly a man pulled out a knife and stabbed the other man in the leg, near the groin.
“Someone tried to intervene but the man just went for him and thrust a knife into his abdomen. It was absolutely terrifying.
“The police tried to taser the man but he didn’t fall down.
“Instead he just lunged at the officer after pulling out his knife again and stabbed him. There was blood everywhere.”
Dr Arshad Mahmood, who had his hand stabbed while trying to disarm the attacker, said: “Everyone was frightened. It was so sudden.
“A man started stabbing one of the guys who was just sitting right next to him.
“We went to save him. He had multiple injuries, three or four wounds.
“A few of us went to stop him. One of the guys was strong enough to stop him. I held his hand. One also had an injury on his thigh.”
The suspect was being held yesterday in a mental health facility on suspicion of attempted murder – after being deemed unfit for questioning.
Speaking on Sunday, Chief Superintendent Alex Murray, from West Midlands Police, said the taser bolt had no effect on the attacker.
He said: “A man inside the mosque reported to police just after 11pm that someone inside was stabbing people.
“Our officers managed to arrive just four minutes later.
“A male and female officer saw people injured and were directed to a side room where there was an individual with a knife.
“They challenged the individual, who then ran at them with a knife.
“A Taser used by the male officer had no effect on the man whatsoever.
“The attacker then stab the officer in the chest and stomach around his protective vest.
“Despite that the officer still managed to wrestle the attacker and disarm him.
“People in the mosque were brilliant, they managed to give first aid to our officer, as well as the other three people who were hurt.
“An off-duty surgeon was also there and provided invaluable help.
“There was some really brave action from police and the public in the mosque that night.
“We have arrested the man, and we can now begin to bring him to justice.”
Liam Byrne, local MP for Hodge Hill in Birmingham, added: “This was a tragic and isolated incident, where one worshipper turned on other worshippers.
“This was not a hate crime, it was a one-off. This is a community full of difference faiths, where there is a great harmony between the different religions in the area.”
The two men who were stabbed in the abdomen and thigh are currently in a stable condition in hospital.