Airlie Beach Whitsundays police shooting: Luke Gilbert parents speak about son’s death

Airlie Beach Whitsundays police shooting: Luke Gilbert parents speak about son's death 2
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The heartbroken parents of a man shot dead by police after he allegedly threatened them with a pen knife have revealed how detectives came to their home and bluntly told them their son had died – as the couple demands answers.

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Luke Gilbert, 24, died after he was peppered with bullets in Airlie Beach, in the Whitsundays, just after midnight last Saturday.

The young West Australian man, who lived in Townsville, was on holiday at the popular tourist destination with his girlfriend.

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Police claimed he had approached officers in the entertainment precinct of the coastal town and threatened them with a small blade before weapons were drawn and five bullets were fired.

Luke’s parents, Darren and Nicola Gilbert, spoke publicly for the first time since the tragedy, divulging the cold manner in which police came to their front door and informed the couple of their son’s death.

‘Two police officers came in and they just stood, they didn’t even ask us to sit down, and they just stood at the kitchen bench and just said, ‘We’ve very sorry to tell you but your son has died’,’ Ms Gilbert tearfully recalled to 9News. 

The grieving parents of Luke Gilbert, Darren and Nicola Gilbert (pictured), have spoken publicly for the first time since their son's death last Saturday

The grieving parents of Luke Gilbert, Darren and Nicola Gilbert (pictured), have spoken publicly for the first time since their son’s death last Saturday

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Luke GIlbert (pictured), 24, was shot dead by two police officers in Airlie Beach, in the Whitsundays, after he allegedly threatened them with a pen knife

Luke GIlbert (pictured), 24, was shot dead by two police officers in Airlie Beach, in the Whitsundays, after he allegedly threatened them with a pen knife 

She then read a social media post she wrote about the death of her son: ‘We’ve lost our boy. The pain is beyond words.’ 

Mr Gilbert demanded an explanation into how the shooting unfolded before he blasted the police.

‘What happened? We need answers,’ he said.

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‘This is a massive failing of the Queensland police,’ Mr Gilbert added. 

Luke’s brother, Zac Gilbert, claimed in a social media posted the day after the shooting that police had gone straight for their firearms instead of using tasers. 

After revealing to 9News the callous way detectives informed them about their son's death, Luke's parents demanded answers into how the shooting unfolded before slamming Queensland police

After revealing to 9News the callous way detectives informed them about their son’s death, Luke’s parents demanded answers into how the shooting unfolded before slamming Queensland police

Bystanders are seen on the street after police fired up to five rounds in the popular nightclub district just after midnight last Saturday

Bystanders are seen on the street after police fired up to five rounds in the popular nightclub district just after midnight last Saturday

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‘There’s a lot of speculation in the media about the circumstances surrounding the loss of my brother but just know the truth is excess force was used on him which killed him and that can never be undone, they didn’t try the taser, the baton or the pepper spray first they went straight for the guns carelessly,’ he alleged. 

He revealed the impact Luke’s death has had on their devastated family. 

‘We’re all still processing this right now, I just wanted to get this to as many people as Luke has touched because I know alot of people loved Luke.’

‘Life will never be the same, he deserved alot better than this!! I cant believe this has happened, he’s at rest now.’

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‘R.I.P my loving brother, one day I’ll see you again, I love you Luke.’ 

He claimed police used 'excess force' and 'carelessly' went straight for their guns when they shot his brother Luke (pictured)

He claimed police used ‘excess force’ and ‘carelessly’ went straight for their guns when they shot his brother Luke (pictured)

Zac Gilbert wrote in a post to social media last Sunday the impact Luke's death has had on their family

Zac Gilbert wrote in a post to social media last Sunday the impact Luke’s death has had on their family 

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said Luke was with two officers when he suddenly ‘produced a knife from his hoodie and started threatening police’.

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‘The police have tried to further engage and they have retreated and moved from that location, and tried and continue to communicate with that male person.’

Mr Leavers alleged he ‘lunged’ at the officers who ‘had no other alternative but to use their firearm’.

‘Police did all they could to try and resolve this matter peacefully.’ 

He added that it was ‘not possible’ for police to use a taser.

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Officers investigate the scene of the shooting on Sunday morning

Officers investigate the scene of the shooting on Sunday morning

Queensland Police Superintendent Graeme Paine echoed the same comments, telling reporters the day after the shooting that Luke had ‘produced a knife and advanced towards the officers’.

He claimed that Luke continued to advance despite both officers directing him to drop the knife. He was then shot up to five times.

The incident was captured on CCTV and police body worn cameras.

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Ethical Standards Command are investigating with oversight by the Crime and Corruption Commission. 

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