A coronial inquest into the fatal shooting of a gunman during a police siege in Adelaide has been told the man shouted at police that he had a “f***ing hostage” before firing two shots.
- South Australia’s coroner is investigating the death of fugitive Matthew Kim Morgan
- The 24-year-old was fatally shot during a stand-off with police at an Adelaide motel in 2017
- The opening day of the inquest was told he fired two shots before police fired on him
Matthew Kim Morgan, 24, died from chest and neck injuries after being shot by police at the Tollgate Motel at Glen Osmond in October 2017.
An inquest is investigating the circumstances surrounding the stand-off and the police response.
On the opening day, state coroner David Whittle heard police tracked Morgan and his wife Jami-Lee to the motel and attempted to open the door of Room 11 before discovering he was armed.
Counsel assisting the coroner Stephen Plummer outlined the events leading up to the death of Morgan, who was wanted in three states — including South Australia — for numerous offences.
The inquest heard that, on the day before the shooting, Morgan and his wife were at a Mitchell Park home and police were called to the property.
Morgan gave police a fake name and he and his wife left the area in a white van — details of which were broadcast over police radio.
A patrol officer spotted the van and used his unmarked car to attempt to block the vehicle, before getting out and indicating for Morgan to stop and get out of the van.
The inquest heard Morgan refused and drove off, hitting the officer and causing him to fall on the road and hit his head.
He suffered a concussion, was taken to the Flinders Medical Centre and was discharged six hours later.
The next day, officers tracked Morgan and his wife to the Tollgate Motel.
A police officer got a key from hotel management and was attempting to unlock the door when he heard Morgan yell from inside: “I have a f***ing hostage.”
The inquest was told a police dog and an operations officer approached the front of the unit when the officer saw a weapon pointed at her own head.
“She describes [it] as a double-barrelled, side-by-side shotgun pointing out the window at head height,” Mr Plummer told the court.
STAR Group officers cordoned off the motel room and the incident was declared “high risk”.
Officer says shots were to protect hostage
During the stand-off, Morgan fired the shotgun twice through the bathroom window at the rear of the room and set fire to a number of objects that were thrown out of the front and rear windows.
The inquest heard he refused to comply with numerous police requests for him to put down his weapon and come outside.
Morgan was shot three times by a STAR Group officer who had been watching through the window of a neighbouring property. Two of those shots were fatal.
In an interview with police, the officer who shot Morgan, who cannot be named, explained his reasoning for shooting him.
“If I wasn’t to take that action then he could very easily have killed her at some point,” Mr Plummer relayed to the inquest, without making it clear whether he was referring to the police officer or Morgan’s wife.
Morgan’s wife will give evidence during the inquest, and the coroner will consider whether STAR Group officers could or should consider alternatives or seek authority prior to shooting an alleged offender.
The inquest is expected to run for two weeks.
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