Rookie cop feared for his life before fatal Brisbane shooting

Melburnians and visitors to the city can expect to see a greater police presence.

Melburnians and visitors to the city can expect to see a greater police presence. Photo: AAP

At 6am, first year police officer Constable Drew Lavery began his shift responding to a traffic hazard job with his partner.

Soon afterwards Raghe Abdi charged at him with a knife on a busy highway yelling “Allahu Akbar”, an inquest has heard.

“My life was in danger,” Const Lavery told Brisbane’s Coroners Court on Friday.

Abdi, 22, was shot dead by police on the Logan Motorway on December 17, 2020 in what was later described as a terrorism event.

Investigations suggested Abdi killed married couple Maurice and Zoe Antill – both in their late 80s – at their home south of Brisbane before the fatal confrontation with officers the next morning.

At the time Abdi was being monitored by the counter-terrorism team.

He was on bail amid an investigation into whether he was preparing to be involved in a foreign incursion after being intercepted trying to leave Brisbane for Somalia in 2019.

Const Lavery and his partner only knew that a man was walking along the Logan Motorway when they responded to the traffic hazard call, the inquest into the 2020 deaths was told.

CCTV footage shows Abdi walking for almost an hour on the busy highway before police arrive.

‘What are you doing?’

Abdi had his hands in his pockets when Const Lavery and his partner approached.

“I said words to the effect of, ‘Hey, mate what are you doing’? He didn’t appear to respond to that very well,” partner Senior Constable James Ross told coroner Stephanie Gallagher.

Abdi began walking backwards, telling officers to leave him alone.

“I said, ‘mate you are causing a traffic hazard, we need to get you off the road’,” Sen Const Ross said.

Abdi continued to walk backwards and began looking around, sparking fears that he might run out into oncoming traffic.

“We continued to make attempts to speak to him and calm him down,” Const Lavery said.

“He then began getting agitated so we decided to attempt … to get him away from danger.”

When Sen Const Ross moved towards Abdi, he asked the 22-year-old to remove his hands from his pockets.

Abdi then produced a knife.

Sen Const Ross moved backwards as both officers drew their firearms, telling Abdi to drop the blade.

“I was trying to withdraw to give Mr Abdi time to hopefully drop the knife,” he said.

Sen Const Ross yelled for Abdi to stop when he realised if they kept going backwards he could potentially become separated from his partner by their police vehicle.

‘A string of shots’

“He (Abdi) then yelled, beat the knife against his chest and charged at my partner and I fired a string of shots to stop him,” he said.

“At the time I did not hear exactly what he said.”

Police body-worn camera footage shows Abdi yell “Allahu Akbar” repeatedly before moving toward Const Lavery with the knife.

Const Lavery said he felt his life was in danger.

“Mr Abdi then decided to run at me which I then discharged my firearm,” he said.

Chief Inspector Corey Allen said an incident review found both officers acted appropriately and in accordance with operational requirements.

The inquest has been adjourned to a later date.


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