A knife-wielding man has been shot dead by police during a stand-off on Melbourne’s Monash Freeway, with police calling for any dashcam or phone footage.
The man was shot dead by police after advancing on officers who tried to calm him down during a stand-off on a Melbourne freeway.
Police were called to the on-ramp of the Monash freeway at the Eastlink interchange in Dandenong North about 9.30am on Thursday following reports of a distressed man in the emergency lane.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Bob Hill says the officers tried negotiating with the 53-year-old.
“There was certainly some agitation on behalf of the male,” Hill told reporters at the scene.
“We tried to actually calm the male down.
“At a point during that course of negotiation, the male has produced a knife and advanced on the police members.”
The officers fired a non-lethal beanbag round to try to stop the man before shooting him twice in the chest with a semiautomatic firearm.
The man, identified as a Narre Warren resident, died at the scene.
A police officer suffered minor injuries.
“Our police members did everything they could to resolve this matter but unfortunately, it has ended sadly with someone losing their life,” Hill said.
“It is a sad occasion certainly for the family, the loved ones, the friends of this deceased male. It’s a sad occasion for the community of Victoria, the local community here, and certainly a tragic event for our police now to deal with.”
The assistant commissioner said the man had been suffering a “mental health episode.”
“Whether it was a matter of self-harm or harming others … the male involved was quite distressed,” he said.
“We are still trying to understand why, what’s motivated, what’s triggered this situation.”
The man was known to police but had a clean criminal record.
Mt Eliza man Ben said he witnessed the stand-off.
“They had guns drawn on the assailant,” he told ABC Melbourne radio.
Homicide detectives will investigate the incident, with oversight from the Professional Standards Command, as is standard procedure following a police shooting.
Footage from body-worn cameras activated by officers, as well as freeway cameras, will be used in the investigation while police have also appealed for phone or dashcam footage from motorists.
Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt said police involved in the incdident are receiving support.
“Our understanding is that members have acted in self-defence, operating in an extremely dangerous environment,” he said in a statement.
“We are currently providing immediate wellbeing and other support to all members involved.”
All city-bound lanes of the Monash Freeway were open at 4pm, after those between Heatherton Road and EastLink were closed for most of the day.
Traffic remained heavy through Dandenong, Endeavour Hills and Hallam in the afternoon, with the Department of Transport urging motorists in the area to allow more time for their journeys.
The incident comes a month after a truck ran into and killed four police officers who were impounding a vehicle in the emergency lane of the Eastern Freeway at Kew.
In Australia, the suicide prevention telephone hotline at Lifeline is 13 11 14. You can also visit the Lifeline website at lifeline.org.au. You can also can contact Beyond Blue at 1300 224 636. Youth can contact the Kids Helpline by phoning 1800 551 800 or visiting headspace.org.au/yarn-safe
If you are in an emergency in the U.S. or Canada, please call 911. You can phone the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1 800 273 8255. Youth can call the Kids Help Phone on 1800 668 6868.
By Benita Kolovos