Various: St Marys’ shooting on 22 Dec

SCL: https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/nsw-police-fatally-shoot-young-man-in-sydney/ (28 December)

Telegraph and SMH stories further below.

The Guardian: NSW police shot dead a 20-year-old man after he allegedly grabbed an officer’s gun

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/dec/23/nsw-police-shot-dead-a-20-year-old-man-after-he-allegedly-grabbed-an-officers-gun

ABC: Sydney man Bradley Balzan shot dead by police after grabbing officer’s gun

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-23/sydney-man-shot-dead-by-police-after-grabbing-gun/13010502

9 News: Tradesman shot dead in confrontation with police identified

WITH VIDEO: https://www.9news.com.au/national/sydney-shooting-st-marys-police-confrontation/7573e3a1-b154-46eb-a1d2-3730711f236d

SMH: Man shot dead in confrontation with police in Sydney’s west

A 20-year-old man was shot dead after he allegedly grabbed a police officer’s gun during a scuffle in the backyard of a home in Sydney’s west.

NSW Police said four plain-clothes officers were on patrol near the St Marys Hotel on Queen Street in St Marys when they approached Bradley Balzan as he was “acting suspiciously” shortly before 10.30am on Wednesday.

Mr Balzan allegedly fled from police and scaled the back fence of a house a few blocks away on Acacia Avenue before threatening two of the officers who followed him.

Police said a scuffle broke out and Mr Balzan had grabbed one of the officers’ firearms, before the second officer shot the man in the stomach.Advertisementhttps://31c3262455e4d86526989683e4b900a1.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

Paramedics and the officers tried to save Mr Balzan but he died at the scene.

One of the officers, a male senior constable, was treated in hospital after he was bitten by a dog during the confrontation.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones said it was not clear whether the police officer’s gun was holstered at his waist or being held in his hand when Mr Balzan got hold of it.

“Police will allege the weapon was in the process of being taken from the deceased and one shot was discharged from that firearm.”

“Tragically, unfortunately, that male has died as a result of that gunshot wound.”

He said he did not know what it was about the man’s behaviour that made police believe he was acting “suspiciously”.

Assistant Commissioner Jones said the police involved were “put into a very confronting situation” and were receiving welfare support. He said the officers were “experienced” and at least two were senior constables.

“It’s a very sad set of circumstances anytime, particularly towards Christmas, so our hearts go out to the [man’s] family,” he said.

The police homicide squad will investigate the circumstances surrounding the shooting, which has been declared a critical incident.

That probe will be subject to an independent review overseen by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.

The man’s death will be referred to the coroner.

Police were continuing to scour the residential street, a large section of which had been taped off, and the backyard of one house on Wednesday afternoon.

Earlier, an ambulance was in the street and a police riot squad vehicle was parked on the grass opposite homes.

Acacia Avenue is a couple of blocks behind the main St Marys shopping strip on Queen Street. Police urged members of the public to avoid the area.

In October, a NSW Police officer fatally shot a man who police allege pointed a double-barrelled longarm gun at officers when they stormed a house on the Central Coast following a high-speed pursuit over a stolen vehicle.

During an unrelated incident in April, police shot dead a 51-year-old man after he allegedly threatened officers with a meat tenderiser and a hammer at Rockdale in Sydney’s south.

Tele: Man shot during confrontation with police in Sydney’s west

Police said a young man shot dead by officers in the backyard of his Western Sydney home this morning had just grabbed one of their guns and fired at them.

Four plain-clothed officers pulled up in a car beside Bradley Balzan, 20, around 10.30am this morning after they claim he was “acting suspiciously” near a hotel in St Marys.

They had a brief exchange before Mr Balzan allegedly turned and fled on foot.

Police pursued him to his home on nearby Acacia Ave where Mr Balzan jumped a fence into the backyard and two of the officers followed him over.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones said Mr Balzan and the two officers were scuffling when one of the officers “had his service weapon taken from him”. He said Mr Balzan shot at least one round which missed the officers.

“There was a scuffle in relation to that weapon during which one round, we believe, possibly more, was fired from that firearm. As a result of that shot a second police officer has filed one round, we believe, which has hit the male person in the stomach.

“Tragically and unfortunately that male has died as a result of that gunshot wound.”

The Daily Telegraph understands Mr Balzan’s father Adam Balzan was home at the time and came out onto the back steps to find his only child had been shot.

Distraught, Adam Balzan went with police to provide a statement this afternoon.

Mr Jones said he could not elaborate on what police meant by Bradley Balzan acting suspiciously, nor could he say whether Mr Balzan snatched the gun from the officer’s holster or hands.

“I’m not exactly sure in this set of circumstances whether the weapon, whether it was holstered, whether it was out of its holster at the time in the police officer’s hand, I’m not sure,” he said.

One of the two dogs kept at the Balzan home bit one of the officers who is this afternoon being treated in hospital.

Asked whether he supported the actions of officers today, Mr Jones said “ultimately it’s a matter for the coroner”.

“Police are put into a very confronting situation and they acted, I understand in accordance to policy and procedure, but that’s something that I have to say will be investigated by the independent review,” he said.

Horrified family members arrived at the scene this afternoon, collapsing on the ground in tears as they watched police go in and out of the crime scene.

Sources close to the family said Mr Balzan had been mugged two years ago and believe he would have been scared when the plain-clothed officers confronted him on the street.

Neighbours were stunned to hear what had happened at the Balzan home.

“I heard a bang bang and thought what’s that? Then five seconds later I heard another bang bang and thought oh, that’s gunshots I’m not going outside,” one neighbour, Brenda, said.

Tempers boiled over at the scene on Wednesday afternoon when a grieving friend yelled at officers, saying “the poor bloke’s dead, the poor bloke’s dead … you f***ing pricks”.

He was later arrested after he began yelling at members of the media.

MAN SHOT DEAD BY POLICE

A man has been shot dead in a confrontation with police in Sydney’s west this morning.

Police and emergency service are still on scene at Acacia Ave, St Marys where the incident took place before 11am today.

“A police operation is currently underway at Acacia Avenue, St Marys. Initial reports suggest a man has been shot during a confrontation with police … There are no persons outstanding,” a NSW Police statement said.

Members of the public are being urged to avoid the area.

Police were patrolling Acacia Ave around 10.30am when they came across the 20-year-old man in the street and attempted to approach him.

He is believed to have run away into the backyard of his parents home nearby and armed himself with a shovel.

He is believed to have threatened officers with the shovel before a struggle took place. During the altercation with the man investigators believe he grabbed the gun of one officer. The other officer has drawn their weapon and shot him, police believe.

A critical incident investigation is now under way.

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