Maroubra Junction Hotel was in turmoil on Australia Day, as a mis-handled arrest led to one officer being stabbed twice and the perpetrator shot dead in a crowded beer garden.
After failing to appear in Penrith Court last Wednesday to face charges relating to six counts of rape, one count of intentionally choking and one of aggravated sexual assault against a person under 16, 33-year-old Nick Newman was being sought by police, and a request for community assistance issued on Thursday to locate him.
This led three detectives from the Sex Crimes Squad to attend the Maroubra hotel around 3pm, intending to arrest Newman.
Confronting the wanted man, he lunged at Det Sgt John Breda, stabbing him in both the chest and abdomen.
In response, both the other officers discharged their weapons, a total of four or five shots fired.
Witnesses report one officer standing on a table, still pointing the weapon at the bleeding perpetrator, who was said to be trying to hack at his own throat with the knife.
Newman was described by police as of Asian appearance, 180cm tall, 80-90kg, with a large build and short black hair. He is understood to have had a military background with martial arts training.
He died at the scene. The street was closed off and patrons and nearby businesses evacuated.
45-year-old Detective Breda was rushed to St Vincents Hospital via police escort, and underwent emergency surgery. The decorated veteran officer works as a specialist in hunting child abusers.
It was later reported he was in a critical but stable condition after surgery.
At the subsequent press conference, Assistant Commissioner Mark Walton detailed how the Sex Crimes Squad had undertaken the arrest, and two officers had discharged their firearms in the crowded pub, as a “relatively routine situation” rapidly escalated into a serious outcome.
“I understand the hotel was quite full at the time. It is fair to say this happened very quickly as the officers approached this man.”
The critical incident team from the homicide squad is leading an investigation of the event, which will include the discharging of police guns. The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission, which reports to the Coroner, will independently review the findings.
An unwitting host to the chaos, the Hotel was not answering calls today, but local businesses attest that it has resumed trading.