Sahar Adatia and Jimmy Singh.
On the morning of Tuesday 15 September 2020, a frightening scene unfolded at a shopping centre in Melbourne’s outer east in which a man wielding a six-inch knife refused to drop his weapon, leaving police to shoot him.
Around 8:30am, police were called to Lilydale Marketplace in Hutchinson St following reports that a man was in the vicinity armed with a weapon.
According to Sergeant Megan Stefanec, the officers attempted to speak with the man, however he refused to drop his weapon.
As a result, a police firearm was discharged, leaving the armed man with an injury to the upper body.
At the time, a witness named Pauline was out for her morning exercise and encountered the dramatic scene.
The Melbourne resident called radio station 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, describing the situation live to him as they unravelled.
“Ohh sh** they’re shooting… There have just been three or four rounds shot,” Pauline can be heard saying as police confronted the man in Lilydale.
“It looks like they have taken him down, they’re not rushing.
“Ambulance is now going into the car park.”
Pauline informed three police officers had their guns drawn outside the marketplace and were yelling at the man to put the knife down.
According to her observations, police also had pepper spray drawn.
She said the man was strolling around the street allegedly holding a knife but did not seem to be waving it.
However, she declared the man refused to put down his weapon for a period of about five minutes, after which two or three gun shots could be heard.
“I can’t see if they’ve actually shot him, but there’s a lot of police scurrying around right now,” the witness went on to say.
Pauline’s perception of the man was that he was “not aggressive”.
She said to 3AW, “He wasn’t in an agitated state … I don’t know what he did that caused them to actually let loose with gunshots”.
The man was airlifted to hospital after he underwent medical treatment at the scene.
Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson Says Man Posed A Threat to Public and Officers
In addressing the situation, Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson said the man had posed a threat to the public and to officers.
He noted that before police attended the scene, the man had walked inside a medical centre with the knife.
He had also entered a toilet in the Lilydale Marketplace Shopping Centre still with the knife in his hands.
“The man did not back off from police after quite a period of negotiation and then rushed the police members,” Deputy Commissioner Paterson said, adding that this led to a number of shots to be fired by two separate officers.
“No police member comes to work expecting or wanting to engage in the use of force and particularly to shoot someone.”
According to Deputy Commissioner Paterson, the knife-wielding man continually yelled at police to kill him as officers were instructing him to back off and relinquish his knife.
He informed that the officers involved did not have tasers on them, but those who got to the scene just after the shooting did.
Nevertheless, he maintained the decision of the officers to shoot the man, saying that tasers require police to be close to people and that this is not always possible when a person has a knife.
One of the officers who fired shots had only just graduated from the police academy some weeks prior.
Police said they would support the officers involved along with family of the man shot.
In NSW, it is against the law to be in custody of a knife in a public place or a school.
This carries up to two years in jail or fine of up to $2,200, or both if dealt with in court. However, it can be dealt with and usually is dealt with by way of a penalty notice/on-the-spot-fine of $550. Payment of this fine puts an end to the case without the need to appear in a court.
Click here for an outline on the defences to a charge of having a knife in public.
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