At approximately 10:50am, Police responded to information that Mr Patterson had shot three members of the public at his rented rural property.
The Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) immediately went to the property, intending to rescue the Wendy Campbell-Rodgers and Natanya Campbell, but found that they had been shot dead.
AOS and Special Tactics Group (STG) officers surrounded Mr Patterson’s property and attempted to negotiate a surrender, but he refused to engage. During this period, Police became aware that he probably had access to military style semi-automatic firearms.
At 3:29pm, Police fired six tear gas canisters into the house. Three minutes later, Mr Patterson started to fire a semi-automatic firearm through a glass sliding door at the front of the house towards STG officers positioned behind a shipping container. Believing that they and a nearby officer were about to be shot, two officers returned fire. Mr Patterson stopped shooting and immediately set fire to the house. The fire was intense and fast moving, and quickly consumed the building.
Mr Patterson’s body was found in the burnt remains of the house, along with twelve full or partial firearms, and thousands of rounds of ammunition. The post-mortem found that Mr Patterson probably shot himself prior to the fire reaching him. It was unclear whether Mr Patterson sustained any gunshot wounds caused by Police before he died.
The Authority also considered what information Police knew about Mr Patterson and his access to firearms prior to this incident. It has concluded that the information available was disparate and insufficient to raise significant concerns or warrant an emergency response before this incident occurred. However, Police should have recorded information about Mr Patterson’s failed attempt to import restricted gun parts and empty magazines in the Police database.
Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty, said: “Police responded swiftly and professionally to an extremely serious and tragic incident. I am satisfied that the two officers who fired at Mr Patterson had no other reasonable options to protect themselves and their colleagues.
Mr Patterson was shooting at them from an elevated position with a powerful semi-automatic firearm. Mr Patterson’s own actions precluded a peaceful resolution to this incident.”