One of the officers who was present when a colleague shot dead a woman on a street in suburban Geraldton said he did not pull out a gun himself because he was trying to convince her to drop the knife she was holding.
DISCLAIMER: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains an image of a deceased person.
- Officer Adrian Barker was one of eight officers to witness the scene
- He met JC 10 days earlier while answering a triple-0 call she made
- Agent Barker said he tried to talk to JC about dropping the knife
Constable Adrian Barker was one of eight police officers who took to Petchell Street in the suburb of Rangeway in September 2019, where JC was walking with a knife and small pair of scissors.
One of the officers – who cannot be identified – shot him in the stomach, and he is now on trial in the WA Supreme Court on charges of his murder.
Today Constable Barker testified that when he arrived at the scene he admitted the person to be JC because he was called to a job after she called the triple-0 threateningly to hurt himself 10 days earlier.
He said he took JC to the hospital and stayed with her, at the request of staff, while she was sedated.
Agent Barker said when he arrived at the scene, he personalized what he was saying to JC due to his previous interactions with her.
He told the court that he did not draw his gun, or any other weapon, because it was what he called “a deadly object”.
“Guns or a gun – even a taser or pepper spray – for me, I think, is a communication barrier.
“I was trying to talk to her, to make her let go [the knife].
“I knew other officers were there to help me. I’m a terrible shooter.”
Officer describes calling JC before shooting
Constable Barker said he called on JC to drop his gun, but did not shout because he considered loud sounds or screaming to be “a communication barrier” as well.
“Trying to speak is a better way to communicate than shouting.”
He said he had one hand by his side, close to his “use of force options,” while reaching out to JC with the other hand.
Agent Barker described himself as focused on JC’s face, saying he wanted to see a response or acknowledgment, but didn’t get one.
He testified that the only sound she made was grinding his jaw and grinding his mouth in a “crackle, crackle” sound.
Constable Barker described walking up to JC and hearing someone else say ‘put the knife down, you’re going to get tasered. [sic]. “
“Shortly after, I remember a pop, a crack … and I remember JC stepping back slightly to his right.”
He recalled seeing something like shoulder-height acorn streamers from JC and said that because of this he thought she had been given a Taser.
He then said he took four steps to reach her on the ground, “so I was pretty close”.
Constable Barker told court he later went in the ambulance with JC to hospital and was also present when she was pronounced dead.
Officer remembers watching events unfold from a car
Earlier, during cross-examination of the accused’s lawyer, Linda Black, one of the other police officers at the scene, Lucinda Cleghorn, told the court that she saw the events unfold while she was sitting in his vehicle.
She said all of her attention was focused on Agent Barker, whom she described as a friend.
“I was scared for him because from what I could see he was so close to JC. I thought he was going to get stabbed.
” [He] had no option of strength, no weapon in his hand – he was completely vulnerable.
“He looked like he was trying to sneak up on her… he had no way to protect himself from JC. He wasn’t even able to control the hand that had the knife because he was there. ‘other side of his body. “
Constable Cleghorn’s partner Kenneth Walker, who also stayed in their vehicle, said he could see JC was “agitated”.
He said the knife moved slightly as if “she was squeezing her muscles, tightening the grip and then loosening it.”
“The fact that she wasn’t talking to us, she seemed tense and restless.”
The four other police officers who were present are expected to testify when the trial resumes next week.