Sergeant who refused requests to arrest Bourke Street killer hours before his rampage despite being told he was ‘extremely violent’ and may be armed stands by his decision
- James Gargasoulas tried to kill his brother in the early hours of January 20, 2017,
- Sergeant Kalev Jones refused to help police officer Frank Caridi arrest him
- Gargasoulas would later kill six people in Melbourne’s Bourke Street
A sergeant in charge of Victoria’s heavily armed police still thinks he made the right call to refuse requests to arrest James Gargasoulas in the hours before he killed six pedestrians on Bourke Street.
Acting Sergeant Kalev Jones from the force’s Critical Incident Response Team refused to help local police officer Frank Caridi in the early hours of January 20, 2017, after Gargasoulas tried to kill his brother.
‘They didn’t know where he was … and we needed confirmation of whether or not there is a weapon involved,’ the now-Acting Senior Sergeant Jones testified at the inquest into the January 2017 tragedy on Tuesday.
James Gargasoulas (pictured) was sentenced to life behind bars with a non-parole period of 46 years earlier this year for the 2017 Bourke Street massacre that claimed six lives
The first day of the inquest heard chilling police radio calls moments before the incident turned deadly (pictured are emergency workers and bystanders helping the injured)
He said he was told Gargasoulas was extremely violent, had a history of baiting police and may be armed but he didn’t know he was in the grip of drug-induced psychosis.
In the days prior to the rampage, Gargasoulas had attacked his mother’s then-boyfriend with a burning Bible, was filmed at a church ranting from the pulpit about terrorists and had threatened members of the public in St Kilda.
‘Given that extra information, if you’d been informed of it … would you have done anything differently?’ asked lawyer Aine Magee QC, representing families of the six victims killed.
‘I may have asked a few more questions of Mr Caridi … what he was intending to do and what his plan was,’ Acting Snr Sgt Jones replied.
‘Would you have still declined CIRT assistance at that point?’
‘Yes,’ he said.
Acting Snr Sgt Jones will continue to give evidence before coroner Jacqui Hawkins on Wednesday.