A shooter has been charged with attempted murder after allegedly grabbing a police officer’s gun and firing shots at an emergency department ceiling inside The Canberra Hospital.
The 26-year-old man was receiving emergency treatment under police guard around 4pm yesterday when he allegedly wrestled a gun off an officer and fired multiple bullets at the ceiling.
Terrified witnesses have described hearing screaming and someone shout “Taser! Taser!” and “Code Black” as police struggled to pry the gun off the man.
ACT Police’s Acting Superintendent Marcus Boorman told reporters the man was successfully disarmed and restrained.
“The incident has been contained. No hospital staff or members of the public were injured and there is no further risk to public safety,” he said.
Witnesses have described their fear and frustration during the commotion, which prompted long delays in the emergency department as no one was allowed in or out of the building.
Dane O’Connell was in the emergency waiting room with his young son when it was put in lockdown. He told 9NEWS he had no idea of the violence unfolding nearby.
“My wife couldn’t get in to see her little boy for about an hour and a half. It was a little bit (scary),” he told 9NEWS.
“I couldn’t do anything really… police were everywhere.
“My phone was flat, so I couldn’t even call my wife to know what was going on.”
Another man, Dave, was visiting his grandmother at the hospital when “the whole hospital went into lockdown in the emergency ward – we couldn’t go in or out”.
“Inside, it was all just beeping and everything and my mum went to leave and she got turned around and they said she couldn’t go outside,” he said.
He said that visitors were initially told that there was an issue with the plumbing, and later that they were being kept inside for their own safety.
Canberra local Paul Sloane described hearing shouts of “Code Black! Code Black!” but said patients and visitors were otherwise kept in the dark.
“They weren’t telling us anything,” he said.
“There were a lot of people in the emergency unit, it was choc-a-bloc everywhere, so… it made it very difficult to get in. A lot of people had to wait for a long time.”
Mr Sloane says after spending time in hospital emergency rooms, he believes security needs to be improved.
Questioned over how the shooter managed to obtain the weapon, Acting Superintendent Boorman acknowledged that the incident was “concerning” but said it was too early to be pointing fingers.
“We will obviously look into all our procedures, but it is too early to speculate. It would be inappropriate to speculate and at the end of the investigation all will be revealed,” he said.
The man had been receiving treatment after he allegedly crashed a stolen motor vehicle on Yamba Drive in Mawson, south of Canberra, this morning, injuring two other road users.
Yamba Drive was closed for several hours following the incident.
The accused was transported to the City Watch House and was also charged with attempted robbery, culpable driving and driving a stolen car.
He expected to front court today over the multiple crimes relating to both the crash and the shooting at The Canberra Hospital.
Source: 9 News