Witness bombshell: Bikie shot by cops ‘did not need to die’
A jogger who claims he saw police fire at Comanchero bikie associate Liam Scorsese after the man allegedly yelled: "Go on, shoot me" has told an inquiry into the incident that the man's death was "unnecessary".
The circumstances surrounding the 31-year-old's death at a Brisbane bayside suburb on February 25, 2018 are today being investigated by the Queensland Coroner's Court in Brisbane.
State Coroner Terry Ryan on Wednesday heard Mr Scorsese arrived at his girlfriend Chireez Erasmus Beytell's family home in Wakerley to speak with the woman on the Sunday morning he was shot.
The court heard the pair began to fight before Chireez went inside the Goulburn St house and locked the door, which sent Mr Scorsese into a fit of rage.
In a harrowing day of evidence, Chireez's mother Madelene Erasmus repeatedly broke down on the stand as she told the inquest about Mr Scorsese beating on the doors of the house, yelling to let him in.
She told the inquest she called police in the hope they would take him home and he could return another day to sort things out with her daughter.
But Ms Erasmus said Mr Scorsese got "very, very angry" at being locked out of the house and armed himself with a steak knife.
She said she "was 100 per cent sure" she had left the knife in the garden after cutting branches one day earlier.
"It's a face of Liam I had never seen in four years, he was just a different Liam that day. He just changed in a matter of seconds," she told the court on Wednesday.
Through tears, Ms Erasmus said she loved Mr Scorsese like her "own child" but had told him to get medical help after he said he heard voices.
The court heard Mr Scorsese sat on the family's mailbox after being told police had been called, before running away from police constables Damon Till and Michelle Reed.
He was later shot twice by Constable Till.
Jogger Chris Pennifold, who was running past the house on the day Mr Scorsese was killed, told the court he saw the 31-year-old standing metres away from the two officers.
The inquest previously heard Constable Till had tasered Mr Scorsese but he allegedly got up and lunged at them.
But Mr Pennifold, a systems engineer, told the court he did not see the man holding a weapon when he was shot.
He said he heard Mr Scorsese shouting: "Go on, shoot me, shoot me" to police but estimated he was five metres away from Constable Till and 10m away from Constable Reed.
Barrister for Mr Scorsese's family, Angus Edwards, asked Mr Pennifold: "Did you see any motions or any actions to suggest he was lunging or attempting to strike the police?"
"No, I did not," the man replied.
"There was clear daylight between those individuals.
"I did not see the now victim make any lunges."
Mr Pennifold said he did not see Mr Scorsese as an "immediate threat" to the life of either officers and yelled out: "No, no" as the 31-year-old was shot.
"This is an absolutely unnecessary shooting, the police officers were not under immediate threat," he said.
Detective Sergeant Dylan Brook, who works for Queensland Police Service's Ethical Standards Command, investigated the fatal shooting.
He told the inquest Mr Scorsese was armed with a knife and lunged toward police.
Det Sgt Brook said he concluded the shooting was justified in the circumstances as Const. Till was in fear for his life and that of his partner Constable Reed.
"Using the Taser first showed Constable Till's reluctance to use lethal force against Mr Scorsese and it showed restraint on his behalf, particularly when faced with someone armed with an edged weapon or a knife," he said from the stand.
However, the court heard Const. Till had failed to activate his body-worn camera correctly during the shooting, so there was no recorded evidence of the incident.
The inquest heard Wynnum Police Station, where the officers were based, had a low uptake of use of body-worn cameras, which came in about one year earlier.
Mr Edwards told the court there were only 18 cameras at the station, but 33 general duties officers, who were required to wear them.
Only half of those who used the cameras had ever uploaded their recordings to an internal server, Mr Edwards said.
The inquest continues.
Originally published as Witness bombshell: Bikie shot dead by cops 'did not need to die'