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Chilling moment cops open fire on violent thug who attacked with knife and a flaming gas bottle

Police have said they had no choice to fire on a man who charged at them with a knife and flaming gas cylinder, saying they felt sure they would be killed otherwise.

Two South Australian Police officers told the District Court on Thursday about the terror they felt when responding to an emergency call about a domestic violence incident in the northern Adelaide suburb of Ingle Farm in the early hours of May 14 last year.

Upon arriving at the house, 21-year-old Aaron Michael McCormick – who had made the call to police – charged toward them with an ignited gas bottle and knife.

The court heard McCormick had severely injured a woman inside the home, and withstood two taser blasts from the police and continued to rush toward them.

It also heard the gas bottle he was carrying was emitting ‘vapours’ and erupted ‘a flame about 20m high’ as he ran toward the officers, one of whom had less than a year’s experience in the job, and the other of whom had served for three years.

‘There’s no training that could have prepared me, or any other police officer, for what occurred upon our arrival that night,’ the first officer said, according to The Advertiser. 

He told the court he retreated from McCormick while instructing him to stand back, but the instructions were ignored.

‘Had I not been able to draw my firearm as quickly as I did, I’m sure I would have been killed or seriously injured,’ he said. 

The man was shot multiple times in the chest before being taken to the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH), ABC reported at the time of the incident.

The other officer added he ‘never thought people would ring triple-0 and request police when they had violent intentions toward them’. 

The court heard McCormick said on his call to triple-0 that the woman he injured was ‘almost dead’ and that police were going to ‘suffer’ once they arrived.

McCormick’s lawyer Chris Weir blamed McCormick’s ‘out of character’ actions on financial stress, missing his family and being overweight.

Judge Michael Boylan said McCormick’s actions were ‘bizzare’ given he had no past record of criminal behaviour.

‘He has otherwise led a blameless life and inexplicably, out of the blue, he has committed these serious offences. I don’t know how I am to judge what his risk of reoffending is, and that is a worry,’ Judge Moylan said.

McCormick pleaded guilty to four aggravated counts of threatening to kill or endanger life, and one aggravated count of assault against a woman. 

He will remain in custody to be sentenced at a later date.

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