The scene of the police shooting in Windsor. Photo: Kris Durston Police say the shooting victim had pulled out a knife. Photo: Kris Durston
A man in his 40s is dead after he was shot by a policeman during a roadside intercept in Melbourne’s inner south-east.
Police believe the officer from the highway patrol pulled the driver over on Union Street, Windsor, about 10.40pm on Sunday. Police say the car was bearing number plates believed to have been stolen.
Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius would not confirm that the man, a 44-year-old from St Albans, was known to police.
He said the man is believed to have threatened the officer with a flick-blade knife before he was shot.
“No police officer when he starts work ever thinks he’s going to end his shift having had to take someone else’s life,” Mr Cornelius said.
“The precise details around the encounter are the subject of an investigation.
“My advice is that our officer believed his life was in immediate threat … and he has responded with lethal force.”
The man was outside the car when he was shot at close range. Police are reviewing in-car video and CCTV taken from near the scene of the shooting.
Mr Cornelius said it was common for highway patrol members to work on their own. He would not comment on whether number-plate recognition technology had been used to detect the car, or whether any other behaviour by the driver had attracted the officer’s attention.
“The officer of course is devastated by what’s happened, as are his colleagues.
He is an experienced member, a senior constable of the stonnington highway patrol of some standing.”[Working alone] is a choice that we leave to them. There are many that want to, and continue to want to, work one up.”
Mr Cornelius would not comment on where a woman who was a passenger in the car had been when the shooting took place.
He said she had been identified, but would not confirm if she was known to police.
“We’re very keen to speak to a female who we believe was a passenger in the vehicle at the time of this intercept.
“We’d ask her to come forward.”
The Federation of Community Legal Centres expressed concern that Mr Cornelius had “pre-judged” the outcome of internal and coronial investigations by saying the officer had acted in self-defence.
Mr Cornelius dismissed this criticism, saying he would always stand by his members.
He would not comment on whether anything was found in the car, or whether the driver had been drug-affected.
Several public housing residents in Raleigh Street, Windsor, heard the gun shots. The rear of the building overlooks Union Street opposite a Wesley College entrance.
Garry Rath has lived in the flats for five years.
‘‘I had been watching the footy and had had two stubbies,’’ Mr Rath said.
‘‘You hear that sort of thing a lot around here. I wondered whether it was someone lining up three firecrackers or the real thing,’’ he said.
‘‘I heard three cracks and the noise around here reverberates so lots of people heard it,’’ he said.
The coroner attended the scene overnight and will investigate. Police from the homicide squad and professional services command are also investigating.
Police are also looking for a woman believed to have been in the car.
Traffic around Union Street is expected to be heavy well into Monday.
Anyone with information is asked to phone Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
With Deborah Gough
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