| 03.06,09. 02:51 PM |
Shot dead in a knife stand-off at Armidale by police
June 03, 2009 12:00am
AN INTERNAL investigation into how police killed a young man in Armidale yesterday will examine whether capsicum spray was an option for the officers involved.
It's alleged the 25-year-old man was shot after threatening police with a knife in a laneway in the town's shopping centre.
Although police immediately helped apply first aid the man died within five minutes of collapsing near the doorway of restaurant in Cinders Lane.
A post mortem is expected to confirm he died from a single wound to the chest.
Restaurant owner Marie Wall said: "We heard a gunshot and then we saw the dead young man lying on the street.
"A few patrons of ours went to try and resuscitate the man. They said he was shot at close range and there was no hope of reviving him."
Ms Wall said the sound of gunfire sent several teenagers running into her bistro.
Ann Gilbert told local radio that she could hear a commotion from the town's library, where she works.
"I was out the back of the library in the car park and I heard a man shouting, 'get down, get down, get on the ground now," Ms Gilbert said.
"I first thought someone was doing a robbery training exercise or something and then I heard this tremendous bang.
"I could see someone was on the ground and one of the police was doing CPR.
The local chamber of commerce said the shooting was witnessed by many people as they returned from their lunch breaks in the town's business district.
"The police have apparently chased this young guy into the lane for some reason. Then he's been shot. The body is still there and quite a few people are very upset," a spokesman for the chamber said.
Local councillor Colin Gadd said counselling was being arranged for those who witnessed the shooting, .
"It's a shocking thing to happen and a disturbing event to witness," he said.
One distressed woman was later treated at Armidale Hospital for shock.
A police spokesman said the option of capsicum spray to subdue the alleged attacker would be a "routine" part of inquiries by the Critical Incident Team investigating the shooting. The investigation would also examine whether the officers were acting in self defence.
"Initial inquiries indicate police called on the man to drop the knife. The man has continued to threaten police and a shot was fired," police said in a statement.
No police were injured in the incident but counselling is also being provided for the officers involved.
A report will be prepared for the Coroner.