TWO former Tenterfield police officers have been awarded the highest bravery honour after they shot and killed a man suffering a psychotic break at the Rocky River in 2012.
Husband and wife Sergeant Carter Knyvett and Senior Constable Karen Peasley were presented with valour awards on Friday by NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.
In 2012, the pair was called to the School of Happiness commune, a remote property outside Tenterfield, following reports 33-year-old Ryan Pringle had begun threatening people with a knife.
A later inquest heard Mr Pringle, the son of former rugby league player Neil Pringle, had a history of mental illness and had taken illicit drugs.
He hit a female camper before arming himself with a knife and threatening a number of campers with death at the campsite.
He told them he was Jesus Christ and they were demons who had to be “punished”.
Police were alerted by terrified campers who crossed a river in darkness and drove 27 kilometres back into Tenterfield.
Mr Pringle dropped the knife and ran into the bush when confronted by Senior Constable Peasley and Sergeant Knyvett.
But as the officers were helping the campers to leave the area, Mr Pringle re-emerged from the bush.
After attempts to subdue Pringle with a taser, he was shot by Sergeant Knyvett when he charged at the officers with a crossbow.
Both officers conducted CPR on Mr Pringle until ambulance paramedics arrived, but he died shortly after.
At the police academy in Goulburn on Friday, both Knyvett and Peasley, who has since been promoted to sergeant, were presented the exceptional bravery awards by Commissioner Scipione.
“This award acknowledges the extraordinary courage, selflessness and professionalism displayed by each of the officers in the line of duty,” the Commissioner said.
“These officers have demonstrated the highest standards of the NSW Police Force, risking their own personal safety to ensure the safety of the community.
Commissioner Scipione said the officers displayed selfless courage in the line of duty.
“In an effort to ensure the safety of the members of the public, the officers evacuated the site.
“During this time, the offender reappeared with a crossbow and pointed it at Knyvett and Peasley, ordering them to drop their weapons.
“The man ignored all directions to drop the crossbow and advanced towards the officers. Sergeant Knyvett then discharged his firearm a number of times and struck the man,” Commissioner Scipione said.
A critical incident investigation was set up following the police shooting but cleared both officers of any wrongdoing.
Douglas Home was there that fateful night and said the police’ quick-thinking had potentially averted disaster.
“I remember it but I'd rather forget it so I don't end up in a psych ward.
“The police were so heroic. They gave him so many warnings,” Mr Home said.