The actions of two officers who shot and killed a man armed with a knife have been described as courageous and professional by the Queensland Police Union.
Liam Scorsese, 31, died after being shot by the officers who were attending a disturbance at a house in the eastern Brisbane suburb of Wakerley on Sunday morning.
Acting Chief Superintendent Mick Niland said the male and female officer originally used a taser, but fired gunshots when Mr Scorsese followed them down the street and threatened them with a knife.
Police Union president Ian Leavers said the officers had no choice but to shoot the man, who police said was “enraged”.
“What I can say without pre-empting the investigation on behalf of the coroner, is that police … have acted courageously and professionally, and in a situation police never want to put themselves in,” he said.
“You hope that you never, ever have to use your firearm, but at the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do to protect your own life.”
Police and a neighbour performed CPR on Mr Scorsese before paramedics arrived.
He was taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in a critical condition but later died.
Police taser to be examined
The Police Ethical Standards Command is investigating the shooting with the assistance of the Crime and Corruption Commission, and the probe is expected to take several weeks.
Officers at the scene tried to use a taser to subdue Mr Scorsese, but when that failed to stop him they opened fire.
Commissioner Ian Stewart said the taser would be closely examined as part of the police investigation.
“We know that tasers are not a panacea. There are many issues that we also look at when a taser is deployed and doesn’t have the effect we expected,” he said.
“That can be partly due to technical faults with the taser — that’s a rarity — but more importantly where the barbs strike, the condition of the person … all of that comes into play.
“There are no winners when lethal force has to be deployed by a police officer.”
Lawyer laments ‘life taken too early’
The ABC understands Mr Scorsese had links to bikies, and was known to police for his criminal past.
In social media post, his lawyer Ashkan Tai expressed his condolences about “a life taken far too early”.
“I am not sure what happened this morning when the police killed you, but I promise I will make sure your family knows the truth no matter what that might be,” he wrote.
“In all my professional dealings with you, you were a gentleman and always respectful — what an absolute tragedy regardless of the circumstances.”
Junior officers ‘traumatised’ by shooting
Chief Superintendent Niland said the officers involved in the shooting had been deeply affected by the incident.
“It’s a traumatic event for the family of the deceased, but our officers have also been traumatised by the event and we’re doing the best we can to support them,” he said.
Mr Leavers said the male officer was in his fifth year of the job, while the female officer was only sworn in about five months ago.
“It just goes to show that one his fifth year … and another in their fifth month, their training comes back to them and they did their job as best they possibly could,” he said.
“Fortunately, they are physically OK, but as we know with these things, they take a toll on police and their families and their colleagues,” he said.
“They will go through some difficult times.”