Two police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man who was brandishing a knife in a nightclub district and taunting them have threatened to sue his parents.
Luke Gilbert, of Western Australia, was in Airlie Beach, north Queensland, in October 2022 when he was shot and killed by Senior Constable David Murray and Constable Liam Forster.
According to police, Mr Gilbert, who worked in nearby Townsville, approached officers armed with a penknife before allegedly threatening them and refusing to drop the gun.
Luke Gilbert was shot dead by police in Airlie Beach in October 2022 (pictured with his mother, Nicola Gilbert)
Officers claim the 24-year-old approached them with a knife and refused to drop the gun
A witness claimed he heard Mr Gilbert yell “shoot me, shoot me” before running towards officers.
The two police officers are now threatening to sue Mr Gilbert’s parents, Darren and Nicola Gilbert, for $500,000 over posts and an online petition they believe contain false and defamatory claims.
Recent draft briefs received from The Brisbane Times claim the posts and petition blame officials for Mr Gilbert’s death.
The officers’ lawyers had previously demanded an apology for the posts, but Mr Gilbert’s parents refused.
At a pre-inquest hearing in April, Mr Gilbert was heard walking past officers on the amusement park street and crossing the street when officers asked him what was on his belt.
He then unsnapped the knife from his belt to show them what it was and approached officers at Shute Harbor Road at around 12:20 p.m., who repeatedly told him to put the gun down.
His family claims he used the knife professionally at work.
A man who filmed himself eating a kebab nearby managed to capture the shots on video.
Multiple shots are heard, with the man repeatedly exclaiming, “They just shot him.”
The knife allegedly used is believed to have had a blade between four and three inches and a black handle.
Luke Gilbert’s grieving parents Darren and Nicola Gilbert (pictured) could be sued
After police fired up to five shots at the popular nightclub district shortly after midnight in October 2022, passers-by can be seen on the street
Two pals, Budd Norris and Kade Luck, were out and about in the popular city one evening when they heard the gunshots.
They claim they saw a man running across the street with “a knife in his hand.”
“He’s like, ‘Shoot me, shoot me,’ and he just decided to run at them (the officers),” Mr Norris told the Courier Mail.
Witnesses said they heard police telling him to put down the knife and fire a warning shot as he ran toward officers.
“And then ‘Bang Bang’ after he kept attacking her,” Mr Luck said.
The couple believed fireworks had been set off in the street.
Witnesses said they heard police telling a man to put down the knife and fire a warning shot as he ran towards officers on the night Luke Gilbert died (pictured)
A volley of five shots was fired by officers, three of which hit Mr Gilbert in the upper right chest before he fell to the ground, the court learned.
The officers’ lawyers claim the posts harmed them and they were concerned about the hatred directed at them as the investigation into the shooting loomed.
Queensland Police Union leader Shane Prior said officers were “abused” and “denigrated” by the posts.
“These two officers involved remain deeply saddened by the incident in which the perpetrator brandished a knife, leaving police no choice,” he said.
Darren and Nicola Gilbert said the demand for an apology to officers was particularly hard to take.
Ms Gilbert said she broke down in tears upon learning of the potential lawsuit.
Following legal notices, the couple removed the posts in question.
An inquest into the shooting will be held in August to determine whether police were forced to shoot Mr Gilbert.
It is also checked whether the officers acted in accordance with police guidelines, whether their actions were appropriate and whether their training was sufficient.
It is also trying to determine if policies and training should be reviewed to prevent a similar incident.
Officials are investigating the scene of the shooting in Airlie Beach in far north Queensland