Kumanjayi Walker inquest hears officers thought drawing their guns would ‘escalate’ axe incident, before shooting death

Two police officers have revisited the so called “axe incident” that took place days before Kumanjayi Walker’s shooting death, telling the coroner they didn’t think the 19-year-old was a threat, even when he confronted them with a weapon during an attempted arrest.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains an image of a person who has died, used with the permission of their family.

A three-month investigation is underway in Alice Springs into the death of Mr Walker, after he was shot three times by Constable Rolfe during an attempted arrest in 2019, after Mr Walker stabbed the officer in the shoulder with a pair of scissors.

A jury found Constable Rolfe not guilty of all charges.

Three days before Mr Walker died, he brandished an ax at Senior Constable Lanyon Smith and Senior Constable Chris Hand, before running into the bush to evade them.

Neither officer drew their weapon.

A black and white image of a young man smiling, wearing a baseball cap, headphones around his neck
Kumanjayi Walker was fatally shot by Constable Rolfe in Yuendumu in 2019.(supplied)

Drawing weapon would ‘escalate’ situation, officer says

Senior Constable Smith told Coroner Elisabeth Armitage that he didn’t think Mr Walker posed a threat to himself or other people, and he worried drawing his weapon could “escalate” the situation.


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