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Coroner examines replica firearm rules after cop shootings

Police at the scene of the shooting at Outlook Drive, Tewantin.
Police at the scene of the shooting at Outlook Drive, Tewantin. Cade Mooney

A CORONER is examining whether replica firearm regulations across Queensland should be tightened as he considers recommendations in the wake of five police shootings in less than a year.

Between August 2013 and November 2014, in separate incidents, officers from Queensland Police Service acting in the course of their duties, shot and killed five men.

State Coroner Terry Ryan is considering what recommendations, if any, will prevent these sorts of incidents occurring in such circumstances again.

The inquest, which continues until Thursday next week, will look at the circumstances around two shootings on the Sunshine Coast, two in Brisbane and one on the Gold Coast.

One of the men, Shaun Basil Kumeroa, was shot after brandishing a replica gun at police, in Inala, after a four-hour siege.

The gun had appeared to be a genuine, working, Beretta firearm.

Mr Kumeroa's relationship had broken down, and he was seeking further custody of his child, which he was not initially given.

The former inquest found as a result he had assaulted his former partner, and his partner's mother, and was effectively on the run.

In avoiding police seeking him for questioning over the assault, Kumeroa had visited an old friend at Carole Park, on September 26, 2014, and stayed for two days.

He had also stayed with a friend in Camira, near Goodna the night before he died.

He had told Ms Aldham he had a gun, but she was not aware if it was real.

Currently in Queensland if a person has an extensive criminal history, including offences such as assault, drugs or even also previous firearms offences, there is nothing preventing them buying most replica firearms.

Most replica weapons are not required to be registered, and the owner does not need a licence to buy them.

But using a replica weapon, for example threatening someone with one, will usually constitute an offence.

The court heard evidence from Inspector Craig Lyndon Rolls who was the weapons licensing manager for QPS from 2011 until this May.

He told the court there would be significant expense in more strictly regulating replica weapons, and the weapons community (particularly those engaged in the lawful sale of them) held concerns about the effect it would have on their business.

Inspector Rolls said licensing such weapons would mean that police were able to both track them, and those who held them.

But the court heard it was unclear if this would help avoid a similar situation.

Insp Rolls said it would also be difficult to define what constituted a "replica".

He said even a toy could be painted to appear more like a real gun, and a real gun made to look like a toy or replica.

Insp Rolls said police were instructed to treat all replicas brandished in such a manner as a real threat.

The inquest continues.

ARM NEWSDESK


POLICE SHOOTING DEATHS

Laval Donovan Zimmer: Age 33. He grew up in Mackay, Kingaroy and Brisbane and had a history of paranoid schizophrenia. He was killed after running at police with a knife at his home in Redcliffe. They had attended his home after he made numerous nuisance calls to 000 and PoliceLink at Redcliffe and Maroochydore which became increasingly aggressive.

Anthony William Young: Age 42. Lived with his older brother, his brother's partner and their 12-year-old daughter. Brandished a machete at police when they attended his home at Yandina-Coolum Drive, after numerous reports of a disturbance at his home on August 21, 2013. Was told to "drop the knife" three times before he was shot. Police found two bodies inside the home and concluded Young had murdered his brother and partner before his death.

Edward Wayne Logan: Age 51. He was visiting his son Thomas Logan at Outlook Drive, Tewantin. A fight with his son escalated into a domestic dispute in which he smashed up cars, windows and garage doors. He was killed when police attended and he lunged at them with a splayed metal letterbox.

Shaun Basil Kumeroa: Age 42. Was killed after a four-hour siege at Inala. He allegedly had been avoiding police for a number days after assaulting his former partner, who he was involved in a custody dispute with. He brandished a replica gun at police, which they believed to be real.

Troy Martin Foster: Age 32. Police shot him in Southport after he held a knife to his mother's throat on November 24, 2014. He suffered from mental health issues and had consumed drugs and alcohol. His mother alleged problem with police began at age 11 after an alleged police assault at Tweed Heads.

Topics:  coroner inala inquest police shooting sunshine coast


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