Siege drama: Cops thought gunman taken by croc
A TENSE pursuit through croc-infested mangroves ended yesterday afternoon with a fugitive gunman shot dead north of Cairns.
The 10-hour stand-off began at 4.30am yesterday when police allege a man was confronted while attempting to break in to a telecommunications substation at Palm Cove.
A 26-year-old police constable's wrist was broken when the man allegedly drove at him near Smithfield before the gunman got away in the direction of Yorkeys Knob.
Chief Supt Brian Huxley said it would be alleged the man was in waist-deep water about 3.15pm when he raised a firearm towards police and officers returned fire.
He said police negotiators and the Special Emergency Response Team failed to open a line of communication with the man, who was initially thought to have been taken by crocs sighted by police in the area.
"While trying to identify the man's whereabouts among the long grass, several shots were allegedly fired towards police and a helicopter,'' a police spokesman said.
"Around 3.15pm, it will be alleged the man was in waist-deep water and raised the firearm towards police. As a result, the man was critically injured when police returned fire.
"The man was pronounced deceased at the scene."
The man, in his early 30s, was shot by police before being taken via inflatable RIB to the Barron River boat ramp, where he died a short time later.
"It's alleged that officers confronted the man, that he produced a firearm and they have fired upon him," Chief Supt Huxley said.
"The waterway has muddy banks but it was high tide at the time and he was fully in the water (when shot). Police did spot large crocodiles during the course of the day."
Chief Supt Huxley said the Ethical Standards Command would investigate the incident.
Originally published as How seige was ended in croc-infested mangroves