The grieving parents of a man who was fatally shot by police after reportedly threatening them with a pen knife have described how detectives visited their house and informed them in no uncertain terms that their son had passed away. The pair is now demanding an explanation.
Just after midnight on Saturday, Luke Gilbert, 24, was shot many times near Airlie Beach, in the Whitsundays.
The young West Australian guy, who was a resident of Townsville, was vacationing there with his girlfriend.
He allegedly approached police in the seaside town’s entertainment district and threatened them with a short blade before cops drew their firearms and fired five shots, according to the police.
For the first time since the tragedy, Luke’s parents, Darren and Nicola Gilbert, appeared in front of the public, describing how the police came to their front door and told them that their son had died.
Two police officers entered and just stood at the kitchen island and said, “We’re sorry to inform you that your kid has died,” Ms. Gilbert remembered inconsolably to 9News. “They didn’t even ask us to sit down.”
Then, she saw a message she had made on social media lamenting the loss of her son: “We’ve lost our kid.” The suffering is indescribable.
Before criticizing the police, Mr. Gilbert wanted an explanation of how the incident happened.
“What transpired? We need clarification,’ he added.
Mr. Gilbert said, “This is a colossal failure of the Queensland police.”
The day following the incident, Luke’s brother Zac Gilbert complained on social media that the police had used weapons rather than tasers.
The fact is that excessive force was used on him, which killed him, and that can never be undone. They didn’t test the taser, the baton, or the pepper spray first; they went right for the weapons irresponsibly, the brother said.
He described the effect Luke’s passing had on their distraught family.
I simply wanted to send this to as many people as Luke has impacted since I know a lot of people loved Luke. We’re all still processing this right now.
He deserved far more than this, and life will never be the same for him again! I can’t believe it, he’s finally at peace.
I love you, Luke, and I’ll see you again someday. R.I.P.
Luke was with two officers when he suddenly “pulled a knife from his hoodie and began threatening police,” according to Queensland Police Union President Ian Leavers.
“The police have attempted to further engage and have withdrawn and left the area, and they have attempted and are continuing to contact that man individual.”
According to Mr. Leavers, he “lunged” towards the cops, who “had no choice but to deploy their handgun.”
“Police did all they could to try to settle this issue amicably.”
He continued by saying that using a taser by police was “not feasible.”
The day following the incident, Queensland Police Superintendent Graeme Paine reiterated the same criticisms, telling reporters that Luke had “produced a knife and moved towards the police.”
He alleged that despite orders from both policemen to put down the knife, Luke kept moving forward. Then, he may have received five shots.
Both police body cams and CCTV recorded the event.
The Crime and Corruption Commission is supervising the investigation being conducted by the Ethical Standards Command.