Glen Innes police shooting: neighbour Bryce Elliott describes moments after Senior Constable Helen McMurtrie and Sergeant Mark Johnston were shot

ONE of the men first on scene at the Glen Innes shooting has detailed the moments rushing to help render aid to Senior Constable Helen McMurtrie after she was shot in the neck.

Bryce Elliott was inside his Church Street home playing the playstation when the gun shots blasted the night air shortly before 10pm on Friday.

“Next minute we hear a gunshot and run outside and then we see coppers getting dragged across the front lawn, so we run up to help them and then another gunshot went off,” he said.

“We run up and me mate runs straight to the police and they yelled out for help.

“I grabbed [the female officer’s] neck where she was shot and then, yeah, just waiting there with them until the police and the ambulance come.”

Sergeant Mark Johnston, who suffered bullet injuries himself, and a female probationary constable – who had been on the job for four weeks – dragged Senior Constable McMurtrie to the police paddywagon after she was shot.

Police asked me to hold pressure on the wound, I just held pressure until the ambulance come.

Bryce Elliott

“They both got hit with the one bullet. It went through his cheek there and then must have got [the female officer] in the neck,” Mr Elliott said.

INJURED: Leading Senior Constable Helen McMurtrie and Sergeant Mark Johnston were both shot in Glen Innes on Friday night. Photos: Glen Innes Examiner

INJURED: Leading Senior Constable Helen McMurtrie and Sergeant Mark Johnston were both shot in Glen Innes on Friday night. Photos: Glen Innes Examiner

Mr Elliott said when he ran outside, he ran straight to Senior Constable McMurtrie, who was being shielded behind the police paddy wagon.

“Police asked me to hold pressure on the wound, I just held pressure until the ambulance come,” he said.

“It was only me and my mate in the whole street who come out to help.”

Locals have said the home belonged to Lesley and Eric Newman – the 74-year-old a passionate game hunter.

Crime scene: The injured officers were treated at the back of the police vehicle, which was cordoned off by police on Saturday, out the front of the house. Photo: Andrew Messenger

Crime scene: The injured officers were treated at the back of the police vehicle, which was cordoned off by police on Saturday, out the front of the house. Photo: Andrew Messenger

Police confirmed a longarm, centrefire heavy-calibre rifle was used in the shooting, which saw Sergeant Johnston undergo surgery on Saturday to remove bullet fragments from his face, while Senior Constable McMurtrie underwent emergency surgery.

She remains in Gold Coast University Hospital in a serious but stable condition, surrounded by her loved ones.

The officers had been deployed after a domestic violence call.

Assistant Commissioner McKechnie described the “great courage shown by our officers” as they dragged the injured to the car.

As I said, millimetres, inches difference and it could have been a far more tragic outcome.

Assistant Commissioner Geoff McKechnie

“And our injured officer herself displaced commendable calmness in a really volatile and difficult situation for them,” he said.

“As I said, millimetres, inches difference and it could have been a far more tragic outcome.”

While he said he had not spoken to the officers involved, investigators had viewed video footage of some of the events.

Critical incident: Police at the scene on Church Street, or the New England Highway. Photo: Andrew Messenger

Critical incident: Police at the scene on Church Street, or the New England Highway. Photo: Andrew Messenger

“At this stage, again we’re not sure how that conversation transpired, we believe a gun became visible or was spoken about and that alerted our officers to what was about to occur,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

He’s confident of them making a full recovery, but said the probationary constable wasn’t physically injured, but was understandably traumatised.

“She has had a rough night and she is well supported by her colleagues here in Glen Innes as you would expect and members of the community and friends and family obviously,” he said.

“We will ensure that every possible welfare measure is placed around her to make sure she gets through this baptism of fire as well as she possibly can.”

He said the 59-year-old woman, known as Lesley Newman, had been assisting officers at the police station on Saturday, and was obviously shaken but suffered minor physical injuries in the incident.

“I have been made aware that two young men came to the aid of our officers while they were being treated behind the vehicle,” Assistant Commissioner McKechnie said.

“We’ve certainly said thank you to those fellows, but I say it again thank you for jumping in and doing what you could.”

This story ‘They both got hit with the one bullet’: moments after horror shooting first appeared on The Northern Daily Leader.

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