A twenty-two year old woman (some reports have her age as seventeen) has been shot dead by police in the Sydney suburb of West Hoxton, Australia. It was reported the young woman was wandering aimlessly in and out of traffic and with a witness suggesting that she appeared to be acting like a zombie. After police arrived on the scene, they insisted the woman drop the weapon she was carrying. After she repeatedly refused to follow the police’s orders, she was shot fatally in the chest.
The witness, Robert Duncan from Penrith, told The Daily Telegraph that as the police demanded she drop the knife, she stood casually whilst sipping from a cup of soft drink.
“The woman then started moving towards them in a zombie like fashion and the police kept their guns on her and kept moving back, she came towards them wielding and swinging a knife,” Mr Duncan said, according to The Daily Telegraph. “The woman came so close to one of the officers that he was going to be stabbed or had been stabbed and then I heard a pop sound and she went to the ground. She could not have been tackled, the way she was running and swinging the knife it would have been impossible to get an arm or leg shot on her … she just kept coming as if she was possessed”.
Interestingly, the police have insisted that the constable responsible for the shooting only fired on single shot however, news.com.au reported another witness say that he had heard two shots. “We heard police talking to her trying to get her to put her weapon down,” said the witness Alan Sobbi, according to news.co.au. “Then she moved forward and then ‘bang, bang’, two shots were fired. The police went over to help her, to revive her”.
Another partial witness, resident of the area Nicole Maher, also reported hearing two shots. “I know there is bad in the world but in the end, the young girl didn’t even get a chance to make up for her wrong,” she said, according to news.com.au.
The woman was shot outside the Hungry Jacks restaurant on West Hoxton. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the police had first attempted to use both pepper spray and a Taser to subdue the woman without success, before resorting to using the gun. This was after a ten-minute stand-off in which officers repeatedly asked the woman to drop the knife.
"One of the police officers resorted to using a firearm, discharging one shot, striking the female in the chest," Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli said, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. "Police rendered CPR to the female but unfortunately she died shortly afterwards”.
Other witnesses who saw the confrontation between the woman and police have reported seeing her lunge towards the officers whilst holding the knife. During an interview with Channel Nine, witness Ashton Tuimaseve reported, "They tried to talk to her a little bit, then she kind of lost it.”
Then continued, “She started charging the male officer, the male officer was backing up, looking like ... he was not wanting to do anything, then he fired one shot and it hit her in the chest. I think at the time she was being Tasered, that's what might've slowed her down a little bit”.
An investigation in to the incident will be handled by the Professional Standards Command.