Former cop firearms officer Tony Long stars in the Channel 4 documentary
By Sara Wallis – @sarawallis
Thursday 18th August 2016
Former cop firearms officer Tony Long was known as ‘The Eliminator’, and his bosses at the MET joked he was the Met’s very own serial killer.
He has shot five people and killed three, making him Britain’s deadliest officer. But he was charged for murder for one of the shootings, bringing his career to a sudden halt. Now, a year after Tony, 59, was finally cleared for the killing of Azelle Rodney a decade earlier in 2005, he speaks out for the first time.
Revealing frankly what it’s like to shoot and kill people in the line of duty, he also talks candidly about how his life crumbled during the Rodney case.
“Some people might find the taking of a human life absolutely abhorrent,” he explains.
“But there are circumstances where that has to happen and somebody has to do it.”
With the help of original footage from the police operations, this compelling film takes us back through Tony’s career.
He revisits the sites of his shootings, as well as revealing his own background as a young man who joined the police force for car chases and action.
But far from being the cold-hearted marksman, he speaks of his emotions after his first shooting – a man who held a four-year-old girl hostage after killing the girl’s mother.
Dad-of-two Tony recalls it happened on his son’s third birthday in 1985, making it particularly poignant.
And we look back to 2005 and the events that led to Tony shooting dead 24-year-old Azelle Rodney.
He had been pulled over in a car after intelligence believed they were on the way to rob a Columbian drug gang and may have had automatic weapons.
Tony was found not guilty of murder after saying he acted in self defence.
But Tony says: “I was doing what I was trained to do. I felt like I’d done my job.”