Freeway fatality: Police fire on ‘agitated, armed’ man

Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill at the scene.

By Cam Lucadou-Wells

A 53-year-old Narre Warren man was armed with a knife when he was shot dead by police on the side of the Monash Freeway in Dandenong North on 28 May, Victoria Police have stated.

Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said that during the “tragic event”, police were called out to a “distressed” man who was parked in the emergency lane near the Eastlink interchange shortly after 10am.

There were conflicting reports on whether he threatened self-harm or to harm others, Asst Comm Hill said.

“There was certainly agitation on the part of the male… (police members) tried to calm the male down.”

The man produced a knife and advanced at police members as they tried to tactically withdraw.

Police were unable to halt the man’s advancing despite firing a non-lethal “beanbag round”.

An officer was believed to have fired a semi-automatic gun into the man’s chest. At least two shots were fired, Asst Comm Hill said.

The man died at the scene.

At the time, five police members were directly involved, including one who was “injured slightly” when they went to ground during the incident, Asst Comm Hill said.

Another seven police officers had arrived towards the end of the incident.

Asst Comm Hill said there was nothing to indicate police members didn’t “do everything they could to resolve this matter”.

“But sadly it’s ended with somebody losing their life.”

The man had no criminal record, had limited interaction with police but there had been “reason” for police to visit his home in the past.

At the time of the shooting, motorists were driving past the scene. Some truck drivers had stopped to assist police during the incident, Asst Comm Hill said.

Homicide Squad detectives were investigating. The incident would also be intensely investigated as to how police could improve their handling of such situations, Asst Comm Hill said.

He said the officers involved would be “scarred” by the fatal outcome.

“Our police members don’t come to work to be confronted by this situation.

“It’s the last thing that members of Victoria Police want to deal with.”

Meanwhile, all city-bound lanes on the Monash Freeway have been closed at the scene.

Drivers have been advised by VicRoads to exit the freeway at their earliest convenience onto Princes Highway.

“Belgrave-Hallam Road and the South Gippsland Freeway provide good options to exit the freeway.”

Any information to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.crimestoppersvic.com.au

 

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