Man shot by officer ‘made threats with broken bottle’

Police said the 20-year-old had continued to threaten officers after they used pepper spray. Picture: James Ross/AAP PHOTOS

By Adrian Black, Aap

A 20-year-old Pakenham man who was shot on a busy bridge in Melbourne’s CBD had confronted authorities with a broken bottle, police say.

Police and protective officers (PSOs) were attending a separate violent incident near Princes Street Bridge about 7.30pm on Friday 9 February when a man approached them and began making threats, Assistant Commissioner Dean McWhirter said.

Mr McWhirter, director of Victoria Police’s Transit and Public Safety Command, told journalists on Saturday the officers were concerned about his behaviour and asked him to show his hands.

“When they did that, he produced a broken bottle and made threats towards one of the PSO members in particular,” he said.

The officers attempted to use pepper spray on the man, who continued to pursue and threaten one of the PSOs, police said.

“It was at that point in time that another PSO saw what was happening … produced his firearm and shot two shots of the person, one striking him in the abdomen,” Mr McWhirter said.

Two officers drew their weapons, but only one fired the two shots. The second bullet has not been accounted for, but Mr McWhirter maintained there was no danger to public safety.

“In this situation, we had a crime scene that was already established … so there wasn’t an immediate threat to people who were in the immediate vicinity,” he said.

The Pakenham man was detained before being treated by Ambulance Victoria paramedics already at the scene due to the earlier incident. He was in a stable condition and had not yet been charged as of Saturday.

The shooting would be investigated by Crime Commission investigators, police said.

“Nobody comes to work wanting to have to produce a firearm and actually be confronted by an offender and having to shoot them,” Mr McWhirter said.

“That’s traumatic for anybody.”

In the earlier incident, a man allegedly attacked four people with a glass bottle after a reported botched handbag robbery on a tram.

“He’s subsequently got off the tram, started walking north along St Kilda Road, where he pulled out a bottle and struck a person several times into the face,” Mr McWhirter said.

A witness who chased after the man to identify him as an offender was also glassed.

The 27-year-old South Melbourne man allegedly attacked at least one more person before he was arrested at the scene and charged with four counts of recklessly causing injury.

The victims, a 67-year-old man and three women aged between 34 and 56, were taken to hospital in a stable condition and at least two have since been discharged.