UPDATED 10 am: Police are appealing for witnesses to yesterday’s fatal shooting in Nowra to come forward. Police believe there were a number of people in the area who may have witnessed the incident and are asking those people to contact Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.
A 34-year-old man shot dead by police after a two-hour standoff in Nowra allegedly held four people hostage for a short time after pulling a gun in a medical centre.
NSW Police Assistant Commissioner and commander of the Southern Region Peter Cotter said the man held the people hostage after he produced a gun in the doctor’s office today (10 January).
“He entered the medical centre, where he was known to staff, just before 1 pm,” Assistant Commissioner Cotter said.
“He was talking to the doctor when he became extremely agitated, and told the doctor things that raised significant alarm, before, unprovoked, he produced the gun.
“Staff contacted police, who responded immediately.”
Police set up a perimeter around the centre and began to negotiate with the gunman, while the four adults inside the medical centre made their escape.
About 2:40 pm the man came out of the medical centre, still holding the gun that police say was a semi-automatic pistol.
“He brandished the gun at police who were holding a ballistic shield,” Assistant Commissioner Cotter said.
“They dropped the shield and retreated. The man picked up the shield and raised the gun towards police before he brandished it in the air.
“A number of shots were then fired by police at the man.”
Despite the best efforts of NSW Ambulance officers, the man died at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds.
About 3 pm a level one critical incident was declared – the highest category of critical incident in NSW.
An investigation into the incident by the Homicide Squad has begun. It will examine the actions of police and the history of the man, who is believed to be local, before it is independently reviewed and a report prepared for the coroner.
The Assistant Commissioner said the officers who attended the incident were experienced and had tactical training as regional operatives.
It is not yet known if the man was licensed to hold a firearm, or how he obtained the gun.
It is understood the investigation will include bodycam footage from officers who were at the scene.
Assistant Commissioner Cotter said the man had a “very, very minor,” criminal history, and although he was known to the police it was for non-violent mental-health related incidents.
“His next-of-kin have been informed and this is a tragic time for his family and friends,” Assistant Commissioner Cotter said.
“This is a traumatic incident that will obviously impact his loved ones, staff who were in the medical centre, and the officers involved.”