The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that Police were justified in shooting a man when he pointed a firearm at an officer.
Police were notified that the man had been involved in a domestic incident where he pointed what was suspected to be a firearm at himself before stealing a vehicle from outside his home address. The vehicle was found a short distance away next to the Waitara River. When Police officers approached the vehicle, they saw a length of pipe extending from the vehicle's exhaust and into the driver's cabin. The vehicle's engine was running.
Concerned that the man might need urgent medical assistance, the officers took up positions around the vehicle and alerted him to their presence. He was seen to sit upright in the driver's cabin, point a gun at his head and pull the trigger. It did not fire. He then pointed his weapon at an officer standing next to the driver's door, causing officers to fire their weapons at him in response.
Mr X was fatally injured and died at the scene.
"The officers concerned were justified in shooting at the man when he pointed his firearm at one of them. In circumstances where he appeared motivated to take his own life, the man was seen to point a gun at his own head and pull the trigger. Despite his gun failing to fire, it was reasonable for the officers to believe that his weapon was loaded and capable of shooting one or more of them" said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.