Experts back officers in Hornsby shooting

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Police have defended the actions of 2 officers who shot a man that allegedly lunged at them with a knife.

A knife-weilding man is shot by police at Westfield Hornsby. A victim of the shooting gets treatment. Picture: Channel 9

NSW Health will investigate the circumstances in which a psychiatric patient was released into the community on supervised leave before he was shot by police as he allegedly lunged at them with a knife.

Jerry Sourian, 23, was in a stable condition in hospital on Friday evening after being shot outside Hornsby Westfield shopping centre in Sydney’s north on Thursday.

Three female bystanders were also injured after being hit by police bullets and fragments as officers responded to the “life and death” situation.

The women, aged between 60 and 82, are recovering in Sydney hospitals in a stable condition.

The three are eligible for Victims Support Services assistance of up to $30,000.

“I’ve personally spoken to them so they know that it is available,” Hornsby state Liberal MP Matt Kean told News Corp. News Corp has identified the three women as Hornsby resident Anne-Marie Petitfils, Thornleigh resident Lorraine Pendleton and Waitara resident Elaine For.

Mr Sourian had recently gone missing from a psychiatric hospital and was taken to Royal North Shore hospital with gunshot wounds. He will most likely undergo a mental health assessment which will determine whether a bedside court hearing is held.

A knife-wielding man is shot by police at Westfield Hornsby, NSW. Picture: Channel 9

A knife-wielding man is shot by police at Westfield Hornsby, NSW. Picture: Channel 9Source:Channel 9

Critical Incident officers have launched an investigation into the shooting, including why a Taser and other options available were not used by the officers.

NSW Health also said it would conduct “an urgent and immediate review”.

Former police have backed the actions of the officers who fired after swooping on the busy market square just before noon following reports a man was acting erratically and armed with a carving knife.

Bond University criminology professor Terry Goldsworthy, a former detective inspector, said the officers would have acted according to their training.

He said the officers would not have had an alternative course of action, given the immediacy of the situation.

“You can maintain a tactical distance from a person with a knife, it’s generally somewhere over 10m to stay away from a kill range,” he told AAP.

“Obviously they believed there was a threat of death or grievous bodily harm and that it entitled them (to) the use of fatal force.” Former NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Clive Small echoed Dr Goldsworthy’s remarks, saying police had precious little time to make a decision.

“It may be the decision is, ‘We have to shoot this person before he injures innocent victims’,” he told ABC Radio on Friday. AAP ar/sjb/pmu