The family of a man who died after going to the aid of a child thought to be in danger said they are “immensely proud” of the sacrifice he made.
Thames Valley Police found the body of highways officer Richard Woodcock, 38, when they forced their way into a property at Denmead, in Two Mile Ash, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, after being called to an ongoing disturbance at about 9.40am on June 26.
Kelvin Odichukumma Igweani, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene after a police officer fired four shots, Milton Keynes Coroner’s Court was told this week.
The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which is investigating the circumstances surrounding the shooting, said officers found a two-year-old child with serious injuries who, as of Friday afternoon, remained in a life-threatening condition in hospital.
In a statement, Mr Woodcock’s family said: “We have always been so proud of Richard and everything that he has achieved in life.
“We are devastated that Richard has been taken from us in such circumstances but we are also so immensely proud of the sacrifice that he has made to try and save a little boy’s life.
“His actions on Saturday morning were the type of man he was and that is how we would like him remembered.
“A lot of people loved Richard, probably more than he ever realised, and he will be a huge loss to all of his friends, family and work colleagues.”
Mr Woodcock’s wife added: “Richard it has been a blessing to share my life with you, my dearest friend, my biggest love, my soul mate.
“My kind, generous, funny, clever, cheeky husband.
“Thank you for loving me and being the best father to our children. I’ll love you and cherish our time together forever.”
Inquests into the deaths of Mr Woodcock and Mr Igweani were opened at two separate hearings on Friday.
Speaking at the opening of the inquest into Mr Woodcock’s death, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik, from Thames Valley Police major crime unit, said Mr Igweani was suspected of murdering Mr Woodcock.
He said police received a 999 call reporting an ongoing disturbance at Two Mile Ash, adding that neighbours had reported hearing a female screaming and shouting for help.
Mr Blaik said a female and a young child had managed to flee the address prior to police arrival, but that Mr Woodcock, who was from a neighbouring property, had gone to help save a young boy, as it was believed he was still in there and at risk of significant harm.
He said that when officers forced their way in, they immediately saw a deceased male, who was identified as Mr Woodcock.