A GUNMAN has been caged for the attempted murder of a Huddersfield policeman.
Marcus Rhoden, 23, was told he must serve at least six years and nine months in jail - and was branded "a dangerous man".
Rhoden had admitted firing one shot at two armed officers in an unmarked car in Clare Hill in November last year.
Pcs Andrew Branch and Marcus Banks were treated in hospital and left deeply shocked after the bullet smashed their windscreen, covering them in glass, Leeds Crown Court heard.
Jailing Rhoden yesterday Judge James Stewart said: "You are dangerous and could in the future cause death."
The court heard that the shooting of the officers was the culmination of a long-running drugs feud in Huddersfield between Rhoden and a family named Francois.
Judge Stewart told Rhoden: "This is Fartown, Huddersfield, not the OK Corral."
Sentencing Rhoden, who was accompanied in the dock by six security guards, the judge said: "From your plea to attempted murder and your previous history, I must assume that you constitute a significant risk to members of the public of serious harm.
"You will only be released if the Parole Board is satisfied it's no longer necessary for the protection of the public to detain you."
The judge went on: "When two armed police officers arrived you added two and two together and made five. You went out and attempted to murder by shooting the man you believed was Michael Francois.
"In fact it was Pc Branch who was unfortunate to be in your firing line, but fortunate enough to be protected by a defensive windscreen. Otherwise he would have been dead."
The judge praised the two police officers who came under fire, saying: "They showed courage in the line of fire and they must be commended."
Rhoden has already served 275 days in custody.
'Someone was going to get killed'
Those were the words of top detective Andy Brennan as Marcus Rhoden was caged for at least six years and nine months yesterday.
Rhoden, 23, had pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of police officers in Huddersfield last November.
As well as Rhoden, Rahuel Delucca and Matthew Fray were also jailed for their part in a gang feud which shocked a community.
All three took part in an incident which started with reports of shots being fired in Bradford Road, Hillhouse, and ended with a bullet missing two cops by millimetres in quiet Clare Hill.
Det Supt Brennan said: "It would have been inevitable that someone or some people would have been killed as a consequence of how this feud was developing.
"The major problem was Rhoden. I believe he thought he had become untouchable."
Last November 10 police received reports of a man firing shots towards parked cars on Bradford Road, near its junction with Alder Street.
The gunman - who was later found to be Delucca, 37 - then jumped into a car and sped away.
Later, two armed officers in an unmarked car drove to Clare Hill and saw a man standing by the driver's door of the car driven away from the earlier incident.
That man was Marcus Rhoden.
Before the police car had even stopped Rhoden stepped squarely in the front of it and shot a round from his pistol.
The bullet smashed into the windscreen and glass ricocheted inside the police car.
The two officers were taken to hospital. One had an eye injury from flying glass and the other was treated for shock.
That incident launched a nationwide hunt to track down the man who had tried to murder the police officers.
Little more than a week later Pc Sharon Beshenivsky was brutally gunned down in Bradford.
In the initial days after the Huddersfield shootings a property in Clare Hill was searched and police recovered two guns from it.
Fray, 26, was arrested and charged with seven firearms offences and a drugs charge.
Following a further search of Lonsbrough Flats on Southgate, Delucca was arrested and charged with five offences under the Firearms Act.
Police recovered a sawn-off shotgun, a large amount of ammunition and bullet-making equipment.
The police's search for the gunman went on.
During December and early January this year police liaised with colleagues from South Yorkshire and Lancashire to find the third man.
On Saturday, January 7, armed police swooped on a house in Blackpool and found Rhoden.
He was brought back to West Yorkshire to be quizzed.
He was later charged with attempted murder.
He pleaded guilty at Bradford Crown Court in June.
Fray also plead guilty at the same time. He received a three-and-a-half year sentence.
Delucca, despite pleading not guilty, was found guilty by a jury of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
He was sentenced to five- and-a-half years in jail.
Det Supt Brennan said: "Marcus Rhoden, Matthew Fray and Rahuel Delucca are dangerous individuals.
"The firearms and ammunition we recovered during the course of the investigation clearly shows they are prepared to intimidate and cause fear and injury.
"I am pleased these individuals and weapons have been removed from the streets of Huddersfield.
"There was a clear DNA link between Delucca and the pistol fired at the car in the first incident and the jury saw fit to convict him.
"During the second incident Rhoden deliberately fired a gun at the police officers, with the intention of seriously injuring them.
"The two officers involved feared for their lives and there was clear DNA evidence to link Rhoden to this incident.
Det Supt Brennan also paid tribute to the local community.
He said: "They were clearly sick of all this. Time and time again there were incidents where nobody was being charged and nobody was being put before the courts.
"Clearly, one or two people have said enough is enough and have come forward.
"Rhoden, Fray and Delucca must now all face the consequences of their actions."