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25 years after cop shot, police charge second man with shooting Neil Stutts

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A second man has been charged over the shooting of a police officer during a bank robbery south of Brisbane almost 24 years ago.

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The 54-year-old from Woodford has been charged with offences including armed robbery, deprivation of liberty and grievous bodily harm.

The accused remains in custody on other offences and is expected to face court on May 8.

Senior Constable Neil Scutts was shot when police responded to the National Australia Bank heist in Browns Plains on March 24, 1999.

The injured officer underwent emergency surgery after the bullet missed major arteries by millimetres.

His firearm, a Sturm Ruger .357 six-shot revolver, was stolen and is yet to be recovered.

The offenders wore off-white plastic masks and surgical-style gloves, and carried two-way radios. They fled on foot, taking two staff members as hostages before stealing a vehicle at gunpoint.

A third person acted as a lookout.

Police secured a breakthrough in the investigation in December 2020 after doubling the reward to $500,000 leading to the charging of a Browns Plains man with attempted murder.

That case remains before the court.

Detective Superintendent Brendan Smith said the investigation was ongoing and police were confident more people would be charged.

“No case is ever closed, we will follow leads whenever we have got a lead. It doesn’t matter how long ago it occurred – we will chase down the offenders and bring them to court where we can,” he said on Tuesday.

Police remain hopeful the arrests will encourage others to come forward.

“I think it will be a big step. I think people obviously are fearful, I mean, we’ve got people who have shot police officers, so they’re not afraid to use violence.

“Now that they are off the streets … I think people will feel more confident to come forward.”

Det Smith recalled the day of the shooting and his involvement in the initial investigation.

“I actually worked on it as a young sergeant and I have vivid memories,” he said.

“Recent events show we were in a dangerous profession – I don’t think people understand that every day we have got good young people out there protecting the community and this is a potential consequence.”

Almost a quarter of a century after almost losing his life in the line of duty, Sen Cont Scutts is still a serving officer and is grateful another arrest has been made.

“He’s still at work – that’s a testament to his character. He obviously recovered and he’s still working on the front line, still protecting the community so what does that say about him?”

Anyone with information is urged to come forward with the $500,000 reward still on offer.

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