The 26-year-old NCTJ student was checking social media accounts when he spotted a post saying police were cordoning off nearby Evelyn Terrace late on Monday, May 16.
He said: “I heard police helicopters overhead, realised it was two streets over from me so I just got over there as quickly as possible.
“As soon as I saw the huge police presence I knew I had to be there for the long haul. The number of units, the gas vans and fire brigade, it was obvious something pretty big was going on.”
A man was waving a gun and a knife and threatened to harm himself and officers if they entered the house.
The siege lasted four hours and neighbours were evacuated as the man threatened to cut the gas pipe.
Police at corner of Freshfield and Evelyn terrace pic.twitter.com/JSpvWIi5IZ
— Tom Rush (@TomRushh) May 16, 2016
Tom added: “It was super exciting. First thinking there was a gunman then finding out it was a potential gas explosion. Trying to convince the police to talk was fun too.
“It felt great being the only journalist there. It was proper boots on the ground stuff.”
During the standoff the article had 23,000 readers on Brighton and Hove News’ website, and 65,000 views on Facebook. This rose to 28,000 people by Tuesday morning (May 17).
A follow-up story gave more detail after police revealed more information.
Jo said: “Understandably, police were too busy dealing with the incident to update every household but Tom’s reporting meant they had a much clearer idea of what was going on than they otherwise would have.
“As soon as I realised Tom was a Brighton Journalist Works student I was delighted to offer him a byline.”
Brighton Journalist Works managing director Richard LIndfield was delighted to hear a student took the initiative to cover a breaking news story.
He said: “We encourage our NCTJ students to act as working journalists from day one of their course.
“Tom is testament to this by heading out to cover breaking news as soon as he realised something was happening.
“He did a brilliant job and we are delighted to hear his work praised by one of our media partners.”
Tom Rush studied for his NCTJ on the part-time weekend course.