Two police officers involved in the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man who was brandishing a knife and taunting them in a nightclub precinct have threatened to sue his parents.
Luke Gilbert from Western Australia was in Airlie Beach in North Queensland in October 2022 when he was shot by Senior Constable David Murray and Constable Liam Forster.
Police say Mr Gilbert, who was working in nearby Townsville, approached officers armed with a pocket knife before allegedly threatening them and refusing to drop the weapon.
Luke Gilbert was shot by police in Airlie Beach in October 2022 (pictured with his mother Nicola Gilbert)
Officers allege the 24-year-old moved toward them brandishing a knife and refused to drop the weapon
One witness claimed he heard Mr Gilbert yell ‘shoot me, shoot me’ before running towards the 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 made which they allege contain false and defamatory claims.
The recent draft pleadings obtained by The Brisbane Times allege the posts and petition attribute blame for Mr Gilbert’s death on the officers.
Lawyers for the officers had previously called for an apology over the posts but Mr Gilbert’s parents refused.
A pre-inquest hearing in April heard Mr Gilbert brushed passed the officers on the entertainment precinct street and was crossing the road when officers asked him what was on his belt.
He then unclipped the knife from his belt to show them what it was and moved towards the officers on Shute Harbour Rd about 12.20am as they repeatedly told him to put the weapon down.
His family claims he used the knife in his work as a tradie.
A man who was filming himself eating a kebab nearby managed to catch the gunshots on video.
Several shots can be heard fired, with the man repeatedly exclaiming ‘they just f***ing shot him’.
It is understood the knife allegedly used had a blade between four and seven centimetres and a black handle.
The grieving parents of Luke Gilbert, Darren and Nicola Gilbert (pictured) could be sued
Bystanders are seen on the street after police fired up to five rounds in the popular nightclub district just after midnight in October 2022
Two mates Budd Norris and Kade Luck were on a night out in the popular town when they heard the shots ring out.
They claim they saw a man run across the road with ‘a knife in his hand’.
‘He’s like ”shoot me, shoot me” and he’s just decided to run at them (the officers),’ Mr Norris told the Courier Mail.
The witnesses said they heard police tell him to put the knife down and fire a warning shot as he ran towards the officers.
‘And then ”bang bang” after he kept coming at them,’ Mr Luck said.
The pair thought fireworks had gone off in the street.
Witnesses said they heard police tell a man to put the knife down and fire a warning shot as he ran towards the officers the night Luke Gilbert died (pictured)
A volley of five shots were fired by the officers with three hitting Mr Gilbert in the upper right chest before he dropped to the ground, the court heard.
Lawyers for the officers claim the posts had caused them harm and they were concerned about the hatred directed towards them as the inquest into the shooting looms.
The posts had ‘abused’ and ‘vilified’ the officers, according to Queensland Police union President Shane Prior.
‘Those two officers involved remain deeply affected by the incident that occurred when the offender brandishing a knife left police with no other choice,’ he said.
Darren and Nicola Gilbert said the demand for an apology to the officers was particularly difficult to stomach.
Ms Gilbert said she broke down in tears when she learned of the potential law suit.
Following legal notices the couple have removed the posts in question.
An inquest into the shooting will be held in August that will seek to determine whether police were forced to shoot Mr Gilbert.
It will also review whether the officers acted in accordance with police policies, whether their actions were appropriate and whether their training was sufficient.
It will also seek to determine whether policies and training should be reviewed to prevent a similar incident.
Officers investigate the scene of the shooting in Airlie Beach in Queensland’s far north