‘Feared for my life’: How shooting unfolded
Details about why police gunned down a man with schizophrenia after he sent a major city into lockdown have been divulged in court.
A cornial inquest into the death of Mohamad Ikraam Bahram, 24, who was shot and killed by police in Brisbane’s CBD in 2020 began on Wednesday.
The inquest will look at Mr Bahram’s mental health plan and the actions of the police officers involved in the shooting.
Mr Bahram sent the city into lockdown after he travelled from Logan to Brisbane armed with a knife on February 23, 2020.
Officers were called after Mr Bahram stabbed a British tourist, leaving him with minor injuries.
CCTV footage played before the coroner on Wednesday showed how Mr Barham had driven through the streets of the CBD before parking his car on Market St and removing a duffel bag.
Mr Barham then started walking towards Edward St when he came across the British man who was walking with his fiancee about 10am that day.
He pulled out a knife from his bag and lunged towards the pair, with the man pushing the woman into the street and running away in the hope he would be chased by Mr Barham, the inquest was told.
As the man ran, Mr Barham chased him and grabbed at his shirt while swinging his arm carrying the knife.
He struck the man on the nose, causing it to fracture.
The man managed to escape Mr Barham’s grip and continued to run away.
Mr Barham ran after him and stabbed the man in the back with the knife he was carrying.
The footage shows the two men running through the streets until the British man manages to escape into a building.
Mr Barham then returned to his car to grab a different, larger knife after the one he used to stab the man broke.
The inquest was told multiple calls to police were made by members of the public who saw the stabbing or Mr Barham carrying a “very thick f —king knife in his hands”.
Two officers came across Mr Barham walking on Mary St with the knife while driving.
The pair stopped the police vehicle and as they got out to speak with Mr Bahram, he ran at the officers with the knife.
The officers can be heard on body-worn footage played before the court yelling out to Mr Bahram to “drop the knife, drop the knife, drop the knife, drop the knife” before shots were fired.
Mr Bahram then dropped to the ground and was declared dead minutes later.
Senior constable David Eiser told the inquest he’d seen Mr Barham sprint towards him felt he had no other option but to draw his weapon in a bid to get the armed man to stop attacking.
“I was concerned from the job details tht he had already stabbed a person and I could see he had a large knife in his hand,” Constable Eiser said.
“I was concerned as he was running towards me, he would stab me with the knife and I could possibly die from that and be seriously injured.
“I believed he was violent towards other people and when I saw him with the knife and he started to run towards me I started to put all that information together.
“He was still armed and he was very mobile, he was very quick and my threat assessment at that time was ‘he could possibly use that knife as a weapon’.
“I feared for my life because he was armed with the knife, I drew my service firearm and directed Ikraam to drop the knife.”
Constable Eiser’s partner, Senior Constable Madison Hughes, told the inquest he also fired his service weapon at Mr Bahram after he assessed that he was still armed as he ran towards Constable Eiser.
“Assessing the situation, I observed Senior constable Eiser was at risk … if Ikraam was to gain a closer distance on him (he could) stab him.”
The inquest was told immediate first aid was given to the 24-year-old by officers and attending paramedics.
Queensland Police Ethical Standards Command internal investigator Detective Sergeant Donna Green told the inquest her investigation found Mr Barham had died from his gunshot wounds.
“(The two attending officers used their weapons) to protect themselves from injury or death,” she said.
“They fired a string of shots at Ikraam until he was no longer a threat.”
The inquest heard evidence Mr Bahram had been investigated previously by the counter terrorism investigation unit after an incident in 2017 where he’d kicked a police vehicle in Browns Plains.
The investigation ultimately found his actions were not terrorism related but he had been investigated because an associate of Mr Bahram had previously been convicted on terrorism charges.
The inquest heard that Mr Bahram’s mental health was the reason he’d kicked the vehicle, and a wilful damage charge was later withdrawn by police.
In days after Mr Bahram’s death, police had executed a warrant on his family home as part of their investigation but quickly decided his actions were not terror related.
The inquest was told Mr Bahram had been acting uncharacteristically on the morning of the shooting, with his family telling investigators he’d left their Logan home suddenly and had even made his bed, which he never did.
Mr Bahram had been receiving medical injections for his schizophrenia but these had either stopped or had become less frequent in the weeks and months leading up to the shooting, the inquest was told.
Documents filed in a pre-inquest conference on Monday outlined what would be explored, including “the circumstances leading up to the shooting” and treatment for Mr Bahram’s mental health.
The inquest was told Mr Bahram had in the past experienced delusions where he believed the police were tracking him after placing a device in him during a routine dental procedure.
He’d also experienced suicidal tendencies, the inquest was told.
The four-day inquest continues.