Brother's heartbreaking tribute after man killed by police in holiday hotspot

The brother of a man who died in a police shooting in the Whitsundays claims “excess police force” killed Luke Gilbert.

The 24-year-old victim was on a night out with his girlfriend in Airlie Beach in the early hours of Saturday morning when he was shot at four to five times.

Police allege that Mr Gilbert was speaking with officers on the Shute Harbour Road party strip at about 12.20am before he took a knife out of his hoodie and began threatening them.

While his brother Zac has no idea why his brother pulled out a “four centimetre pocket knife”, he claims police are to blame for his death.

Zac Gilbert and another man standing (left) and Zac perched on rocks (right)
Zac Gilbert claims police used 'excess force' by shooting his brother, Luke, instead of using a taser, baton or pepper spray. Source: Facebook

“There’s a lot of speculation in the media about the circumstances surrounding the loss of my brother,” Zac wrote on Facebook.

“But just know the truth is excess force was used on him which killed him and that can never be undone.”

He alleges that police were too quick to reach for their weapons.

“They didn’t try the taser, the baton or the pepper spray first,” he said online.

“They went straight for the guns carelessly.”

Officers administered first-aid following the shooting before paramedics rushed Mr Gilbert to Proserpine Hospital.

Unfortunately the WA man was declared dead a short time later.

A police officer examining the crime scene.
Police officers carried out first-aid on Mr Gilbert following the shooting in Airlie Beach but he was declared dead a short time later in hospital. Source: Seven News

'Officers had no other option'

The head of the Queensland Police Union insists officers had no other choice than to shoot Mr Gilbert after he lunged at police officers with the knife.

“This is a tragedy that took place and they did their best to resolve it but they had no other option to use their firearm,” President Ian Leavers said.

“It was simply not possible, and it’s easy for people to say ‘police should have used a taser’ [but] they weren’t there.

“When you’re in a certain proximity, a firearm is the only option to preserve your life.

“Otherwise we could have two murdered police officers.”

Queensland Police told Yahoo News Australia on Monday afternoon that the Ethical Standards Command is investigating the incident.

Luke Gilbert and two men seated (left) and Luke standing with another man at a skate park (right)
Zac Gilbert says 'life will never be the same' without his brother Luke. Source: Facebook

'Still not sinking in'

Mr Gilbert's family is still struggling to come to terms with their loss as tributes pour in for the young man.

“It doesn’t seem real,” his brother Zac wrote on Facebook. “We’re all still processing this right now. Life will never be the same.

“He deserved a lot more than this. I can’t believe this has happened. RIP my loving brother. One day I’ll see you again.”

Friends also paid their condolences to the 24-year-old online.

“My heart is broken for you all,” one person wrote. “I can’t even fathom how much your hearts are broken.”

“Shocking news, another top bloke gone,” another said, calling for police to be stripped of their guns.

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