Driver jailed over Macca's police shooting

·2-min read

After his friend shot up a police car parked at a Melbourne McDonald's, Joel Papa hooned around the car park honking his horn.

He then rammed a second police car when officers arrived to investigate the shooting, honking and hollering and gloating as officers took cover with staff members inside the building.

It wasn't Papa's first time ramming a police car - he has a long criminal history involving endangering police.

On Wednesday, the 27-year-old was jailed for five years over his latest round of offending. It's his third prison sentence in six years.

Papa and his friend Cruz Noonan - who is wanted by police for failing to show up at court after being released on bail ahead of being sentenced - had been driving aimlessly around Sunbury, in Melbourne's north, before the shooting.

County Court Judge Gerard Mullaly said with men driving around with a loaded weapon it was almost inevitable that something dangerous would unfold, and so it did.

Officers had pulled into the McDonald's car park in Sunbury for a quick break in their duties just after 3am on August 13, 2019.

As the officers headed inside, Papa drove through the car park scoping the scene.

Noonan fired a shotgun at the police car three times.

As the officers ran toward the store entry, Papa honked his horn while Noonan "woohoo'd", Judge Mullaly said.

"Clearly you were, in a way, celebrating your outrageous and dangerous behaviour," he said.

The officers took cover inside a manager's office with three staff members.

Papa twice rammed a second police car and critical incident response officers. Papa and Noonan gloated again before driving away. They were tracked by the police air wing and later arrested.

Papa has previously been sentenced for exposing police to danger during pursuits in stolen cars, multiple attempts to ram police vehicles and once for a violent assault on his then-partner.

Most recently he was involved in an extortion plot, in a violent effort to collect a drug debt.

Judge Mullaly said Papa had become a heavy and regular ice user after first using drugs at 12 or 13, but was clean in prison and hoped to turn his life around.

The judge said Papa would need considerable support when released from prison.

"It's hoped the time away from drugs will make you realise what you will miss if you keep offending," he said.

With time served, he'll be eligible for parole in a little over a year.

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