Washington police Beechboro shooting investigation clears officer who shot dead unarmed man



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Updated

April 17, 2019 14:35:06

A WA police officer who shot and killed an unarmed man in a house in the northeastern suburbs of Perth last year will not be charged with murder.

Key points:

  • Ly Tong died after the policeman shot him three times as he left a room
  • Police say Mr. Tong was not holding a knife as reported, but appeared "very quickly"
  • The state coroner will review your death and it is expected that a public inquiry will be conducted

An internal investigation was initiated by police after Ly Tong, 38, was shot to death when officers went to Beechboro House on Nov. 22 in response to an incident of family violence.

Washington police commissioner Chris Dawson said police were told that Tong was armed with a knife or something similar and threatened to kill his mother and attack the police.

He said that two police officers entered the house of Yenisey Crescent and found the elderly woman and two small children "in a confined space", with Mr. Tong in a separate room.

When Mr. Tong left the room, he was shot three times "within seconds" by one of the police officers and died almost immediately.

Commissioner Dawson said that Tong did not have a gun in his hands, but it was discovered that he had a small knife in his pocket and four other knives in the room.

He said the policeman who fired his gun was forced to take "a decision in fractions of a second."

"The result of the investigation is that the police concluded that there was no reasonable prospect of convicting the officer for causing that man's death," said Commissioner Dawson.

"I am pleased that this was a very thorough investigation into what really was a very tragic death.

"The man was not armed with a knife the moment he left the room.

"What I'm going to say is that he left that room quickly, and the cops were faced with a very fractious decision."

Officer followed his training: Dawson

Commissioner Dawson said the officer had already engaged in two similar situations in which he was confronted by someone with a knife and was forced to take out his firearm.

But he said he had not fired his gun the previous time.

Commissioner Dawson said the officer served for "about five or six years" and was only recently trained again in critical skills training.

"The officer who fired the shot was from the belief that the person was armed," he said.

"He is experienced, he was accompanied by a sergeant who is very experienced.

"I am pleased that the officer who fired the shots and the other officer participating did exactly what their training teaches them to do."

Commissioner Dawson said a family violence restraining order was in place against Mr. Tong at the time of the incident, and he was in violation of the order to be in the house.

Police had earlier revealed that he was well known to them, saying the officers had gone to the house countless times.

Tong's death has already been referred to the state coroner and Commissioner Dawson said he expects an investigation to be carried out.

He again offered his condolences to Tong's family and said that they had been informed of the outcome of the investigation.

He said the officer who fired his gun returned to "reserve duties" after being suspended following the shooting, and was undergoing a "reevaluation" before returning to full-time first-line assignments.

Topics:

police,

crime,

law-crime-and-justice,

perth-6000,

wa

beechboro-6063

First published

April 17, 2019 13:19:15

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