Cop’s actions praised in fatal shooting
THE actions of a police officer who shot a man armed with knives in Burnie have been described as "exemplary" by a coroner investigating the death.
Coroner Olivia McTaggart handed down her findings on the death of Robert William McInerney in the Devonport Magistrates Court on Friday.
Mr McInerney, 48, was shot in Cooee on May 24, 2016. He died from his injuries in the North West Regional Hospital the next day.
The inquest heard he had "formulated a clear plan to arm himself with multiple knives and to call police officers to attend and shoot him dead".
Ms McTaggart said he threw knives at officers when they arrived before retreating out of sight, armed, to the backyard of the Stitz St unit block.
Capsicum spray was used as Mr McInerney emerged from bushes and charged at officers with a knife but it did not slow him down.
The court heard Senior Constable William Flynn then shot the 48-year-old four times.
"Senior Constable Flynn's actions throughout the incident were exemplary," Ms McTaggart said.
"Senior Constable Flynn, an experienced, trained police negotiator, attempted to pacify Mr McInerney and have him disarm himself.
"However, Mr McInerney was not receptive to negotiation.
"Senior Const. Flynn shot only when there was no other choice. The gun needed to be discharged to stop officers being stabbed.
"Mr McInerney was intent on killing or seriously injuring officers. He had a specific intention of ending his life."
She classified his death as suicide by gunshot wounds.
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Ms McTaggart recommended Tasmania Police keep a record of police-provoked shootings and review the need for a specific policy and training if there was a marked rise in such incidents.
Police Association of Tasmania president Colin Riley said it was an "extreme relief" to all officers at the scene, and Constable Flynn in particular, that the coroner made no criticism of the actions taken on the day in question.
"Senior Constable Flynn only did what he needed to do, he had no other choice," Inspector Riley said.
"Senior Constable Flynn has been affected deeply by this incident."
Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine said the force's thoughts and sympathies remained with Mr McInerney's family.
He described the time since the incident as "difficult" for the officers involved, their families and work colleagues.
"They have been offered support throughout," he said.
"No police officer wishes to be faced with the circumstances of that day. It was a tragic outcome."
Crisis support can be found at Lifeline (13 11 14 and lifeline.org.au), Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467 and suicidecallbackservice.org.au) and Beyond Blue (1300 22 4636 and beyondblue.org.au).