Florist at Sydney station defends police over fatal shooting

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 11:50am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 July, 2017, 11:52am

A florist who saw a man shot dead by police at Sydney’s Central station has said officers “had no choice” but to shoot his attacker.

Emmanuel Theoharas said the man, later identified as 30-year-old Danukul Mokmool, held a broken bottle to his neck and was warned by police to put down his weapons before shots were fired at 6.45pm on Wednesday.

Theoharas said the man held him from behind and demanded onlookers call the police. The attacker then dropped the bottle and picked up a pair of scissors, approaching police before being fatally shot from close range.

The officers on the scene opened fire soon after they arrived, Theoharas said.

“He was yelling ‘Call the police, don’t move’. I don’t know why. I managed to put my thumb in the broken bottle and push it back,” Theoharas said.

“He was holding the scissors, showing it to [police], calling to them and they had no choice. They warned him many times. They asked him to put the scissors down. He wouldn’t.

“He would have attacked them. I think they have done the right thing. I feel sorry for him that he is not alive but the police had no choice.”

Theoharas said he did not know his attacker and that he did not try to rob the shop.

“He didn’t ask for money or anything, the drawer was here and he didn’t touch it.”

Sami Aryal, who witnessed the shooting, told the ABC that up to five police officers were present and spent 10 to 15 seconds asking the man to put his hands down.

“One of the policemen went inside the shop ... and as soon as a man was about to run, I saw the policeman shooting him,” she said. “He was shot and he was straight to the floor.”

Another witness, Markell Brownscombe, told Fairfax he saw two police officers yelling at the man to “put it down” before shooting.

Police said it was being treated as a critical incident, and further details could not be released.

A statement on Wednesday night said the homicide squad would investigate the shooting and it would be subject to an independent review with information provided to the coroner.

On Thursday morning, Theoharas returned to his shop outside Eddy Avenue, where he has worked for 46 years.

“I don’t want to stay home,” he said. “Because when you stay at home you think of it, but here you just forget it.”