Uniformed cops should have Tasers: coroner

Hannah Higgins
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DANIEL MOKMOOL POLICE SHOOTING INQUEST

Senior constables Jakob Harrison (left) and Frederick Tse both fired their guns at Dan Mokmool

On the day he died, Danukul Mokmool called triple zero to say his family was going to kill him.

Hours later he was dead - shot in the head by the police he'd earlier called for help.

NSW Police say the officers involved were left with no choice after Mr Mokmool, 30, ran at one of them carrying scissors.

Following an inquest into the June 2017 shooting, a NSW coroner has recommended all frontline officers carry Tasers.

Mr Mokmool, or Dan as he was known, was suffering from a "psychotic episode" when he entered the Eddy Avenue Florist at Sydney's Central Station and held up a 73-year-old man inside with a piece of broken glass.

Four officers soon arrived on the scene - two in plainclothes and two in uniform. None were carrying a Taser.

Twenty-three seconds later Mr Mokmool was dead from a gunshot wound to the head.

Deputy state coroner Elaine Truscott on Monday found Mr Mokmool had "run as fast as he could" at Senior Constable Frederick Tse with scissors in his hand.

Both Sen Const Tse and Senior Constable Jakob Harrison believed Mr Mokmool intended to stab him. Both fired their guns.

"The discharge of their firearms was to stop him from doing so and, accordingly, was justified," Ms Truscott found.

The coroner recommended amending police procedure so "uniformed officers performing frontline duties are required to carry a Taser absent good reason not to".

She found NSW Police policy was to issue Tasers to uniformed officers undertaking response policing. Plainclothes officers weren't authorised to carry them, she said.

However, one of the two uniformed officers there that night told the inquest he considered it to be a "personal choice" whether to carry a Taser.

The coroner ruled that even if a Taser had been available the end result may have been the same.

"However, the fact remains, a Taser was not an available tactical option when it could or should have been," she said.

Earlier in the day, Mr Mokmool had asked his brother Charlie why he wanted to kill him.

Charlie had tried to reassure him he was loved and that he didn't want to hurt him, but Mr Mokmool ran away and called the police for help.

"They had a metal iron bar and plastic bags ready to chop me up and kill me," he told an operator that afternoon.

Mr Mokmool's uncle, Brian Deeming, said his nephew had always trusted the police to keep him safe. He didn't blame the officers for the tragedy.

"They had no choice, they didn't have the Tasers they should have had," he told reporters on Monday.

"The police were the only ones he trusted when these episodes occurred. He knew the police would help him."

Mr Mokmool had a long history of mental illness and was loved by the family he thought was trying to kill him - especially his mother Supaporn Chomphoo.

"It's been very difficult for her not knowing how to deal with the situation, you just feel helpless," Mr Deeming said.

The coroner found Mr Mokmool was usually a "gentle and kind" person. She hoped his family could put the inquest behind them and "hold their memories of (him) as the son and brother they knew".

Ms Chomphoo said she felt better hearing that the authorities knew her son wasn't a bad person.

She welcomed the coroner's recommendation on Tasers, stating: "It doesn't matter if they work or don't work, they should have them."

"But," she added, "I think the police were too close to him. They made him scared. I think they should have thought more about what they did."