Shocking bodycam footage shows the moment a policeman who was stabbed while trying to make an arrest in a remote Indigenous community shot the attacker dead.
Kumanjayi (Arnold) Walker, 19, was gunned down in Yuendumu, 300km northwest of Alice Springs on November 9, 2019, after cutting off an ankle-monitoring bracelet and escaping from a court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment facility days earlier.
The video shows Northern Territory police officer Zach Rolfe, 30, and his partner question the teenager about his identity before Walker lunges at them both with the blade.
Three gunshots can then be heard 2.6 seconds apart as the former Afghanistan war veteran says repeatedly ‘he’s stabbing me’.
Shocking body-cam footage shows Northern Territory police officer Zach Rolfe, 30 (pictured), and his partner question the teenager about his identity before Walker lunges at them both with the blade
Mr Rolfe, who was the triggerman, was initially cleared of any wrongdoing in the wake of the incident but later charged with murder upon review and will face trial in the NT Supreme Court next year.
‘He was a skinny young man and these police officers were stronger than him and they could have out-maneuvererd him,’ Mr Walker’s grandmother Bess Price told Seven News Spotlight investigation special Life and Death.
Mr Walker, who had a 13-page long criminal record for offences including theft, assault, break and enter and attacking on police, was ordered by the courts to undergo treatment at the CAAAPU drug and alcohol facility.
But on October 29 he cut off his tracking device and jumped the fence.
A warrant was issued for his arrest on November 5 and the following day two officers tracked him down.
They attempted to make an arrest but Mr Walker threatened them with an axe and fled into the bush.
Kumanjayi (Arnold) Walker, 19 (pictured on police bodycam), was gunned down in Yuendumu, 300km north west of Alice Springs on November 9, 2019, after cutting off an ankle-monitoring bracelet and escaping from a court-ordered drug and alcohol treatment facility days earlier
On November 9, Mr Rolfe, 30, and another officer were tasked with apprehending the fugitive after being sent from Alice Springs.
Bodycam footage shows the two asking Mr Walker his identity, suspecting it is him.
The teenager appears calm and gives the officers a false name before leaping at them with scissors.
Mr Rolfe was stabbed in the shoulder, while his partner had the blade thrust into his armpit.
One shot can be heard in the chaos and then another two follow as Mr Walker and the other officer struggle on the ground.
‘He’s stabbing me!,’ Rolfe can be heard saying before yelling ‘let go of the scissors’.
Police are seen entering the Indigenous community of Yuendumu to arrest Mr Walker
With the hospital at least a three-hour drive away, Rolfe and his partner immediately try to offer first aid, carrying him to the police vehicle before frantically trying to treat him on the floor of a police cell.
But their efforts are in vain and Mr Walker eventually succumbs to the gunshot wounds that punctured his lung.
American crime and shooting scene reconstruction expert Scott Rotor, who has worked on over 700 cases, said he believes the shooting was ‘justified’.
‘The first thing that I noticed (watching the body cam video) was their professional behaviour but with that courteousness maybe the officers were a little too relaxed,’ he told the program.
Pictured: Kumanjayi (Arnold) Walker
‘When it goes from zero to 100, I don’t think he was ready for that.
‘He had to make the decision balanced with pain and adrenaline and the safety of his partner.’
Mr Rotor said it’s ‘ridiculous’ to claim their was ‘pre-meditation’ in the 2.6 seconds between the first and second shots.
‘It sounds like a long time but when you are in this high adrenaline situation it goes by in the blink of an eye. I think what is going on is survival,’ he said.
‘I’m very sympathetic in cases of police violence, but this isn’t one of these cases.
‘This is not somebody walking home with a gallon of milk from church. This is a motivated individual, 19-year-old… that’s not a boy, that’s a man.’