Police who shot teen made 'good choices' to protect themselves, Commissioner says

thoughtful teenager boy's face

Talissa Siganto

Queensland's Police Commissioner says he backs the officers who shot a teenager in the chest after a domestic dispute on Wednesday afternoon.

Jai Hunt, 16, was allegedly threatening police officers with a knife when they arrived at his home in Springfield, south-west of Brisbane.

The Police Union maintains officers had no option but to shoot Jai.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart said footage from body worn video cameras would hopefully clarify the position the officers were in.

"This happened very, very quickly on the briefings that I've been given," Mr Stewart said.

"This is always a difficult situation, police go to events and they're called to instances of conflict and often have to react in a millisecond to decide what's best to do.

"They are trained, particularly where a bladed weapon's involved to consider all their uses of force and the entire circumstances they're being faced with at the time."

"When you take into account the distance, the time over distance, all of those sorts of factors, I will back those officers on what I've been told so far."

'They made good choices' Stewart says

Family friend Michelle Wykes, who was not there at the time, said Jai's mother told her the boy was unarmed and running when he was shot.

Queensland Police Union's president Ian Leavers said this was not true.

"It is really not unusual for distraught family members to come out with claims in a police incident that offenders were unarmed," he said.

 

"Without pre-empting the Ethical Standards investigation I need to clear up this ridiculous claim by the family.

"The allegation the offender was unarmed when police defended themselves is patently untrue."

Comissioner Ian Stewart defended his officers.

"They made good choices, good decisions to protect not only themselves but other members who were present at the time," Mr Stewart said.

"It's always been my understanding is that the young person was armed with a knife at the time."

Jai 'can't handle people'

Ms Wykes said Jai had Asperger's and did not attend school because he "can't handle people".

She said her son also had Asperger's and that she had known Jai since he was three years old.

"My son's the same ... they think they're invincible these Asperger's kids ... they do these things that normal children don't do," she said.

Ms Wykes said Jai's mother called police after her son had an "outburst" which led to a fight with his father.

"She didn't think her son was going to get shot … she thought that they would probably be able to come and break them up," she said.

Jai was taken to Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries where he is in a stable condition under police guard.

Shooting sparks debate

The incident sparked a heated debate online with some Facebook users believing the police used excessive force.

"I think shooting him in the chest is a bit extreme they could have at least brought him down by shooting his legs if was that necessary," Josh Riley commented.

"Why are police issued with Tasers when the first thing they reach for is always a gun? The kid had a knife only for crying out loud," Heike Gould posted.

Nicki Smith did not think it was fair the teenager was shot.

"So all those officers couldn't work together to take him down without harm ... Knife Vs gun we all know who will win."

But there were plenty of people who defended the actions of the officers.

"Could have ended bad for the cops if they didn't shoot him just cause he's 16 doesn't give him a free pass to stab someone," Ryan West said.

"Police are trained to stop an offender, if you shoot at the leg and miss, you may hit someone else ... Centre body mass largest target of the human body let's not forget you only have about a second to make this decision," Jamie Boyd agreed.

 

Union president Ian Leavers said tasering the boy was not an option and the officers had cause to use their firearms.

"When things happen in an instant you only have one option ... Tasers are an option, but they're not always possible given the circumstances at the time and police had to use force to protect their lives," he said.

Mr Leavers said the union would be supporting the officers involved "every step of the way".

"These types of events have a traumatic effect upon not only police as well as the family involved ... They are co-operating with ethical standards command and look forward to returning to work," Mr Leavers said.

An investigation into the incident is underway.

Ethan Hann, who lives down the road from the teenager, said the incident was very "out of the blue".

"The whole area is just quiet, there's never really any trouble … it makes you worry what's going on around here," he said.

from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-15/boy-shot-by-police-has-aspergers-s...