The heartbroken parents of a man shot dead by police after he allegedly threatened them with a penknife have revealed how detectives came to their home and bluntly told them their son was dead – as the couple demand reply.
Luke Gilbert, 24, died after he was riddled with bullets at Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays just after midnight on Saturday.
The young West Australian man, who lived in Townsville, was on holiday in the popular tourist destination with his girlfriend.
Police claimed he approached officers in the seaside town’s entertainment district and threatened them with a small blade before guns were drawn and five bullets were fired.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the tragedy, Luke’s parents, Darren and Nicola Gilbert, revealed the cold manner in which the 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 counter and just said, ‘We’re very sorry to tell you, but your son is dead’,’ Mrs Gilbert tearfully recalled to 9News.
Luke Gilbert’s grieving parents, Darren and Nicola Gilbert (pictured), have spoken publicly for the first time since their son’s death last Saturday
Luke GIlbert (pictured), 24, was shot dead by two police officers in Airlie Beach in the Whitsundays after he allegedly threatened them with a penknife
She then read a social media post she wrote about her son’s death: ‘We have lost our boy. The pain is beyond words.’
Gilbert demanded an explanation of how the shooting unfolded before blasting police.
‘What happened? We need answers, he said.
“This is a massive failure by Queensland police,” Mr Gilbert added.
Luke’s brother, Zac Gilbert, claimed in a social media post the day after the shooting that police had gone straight for their firearms instead of using tasers.
After revealing to 9News how detectives informed them of their son’s death, Luke’s parents demanded answers on how the shooting unfolded before they hit Queensland police.
Bystanders are seen in the street after police fired up to five shots in the popular nightclub district just after midnight on Saturday
“There is a lot of speculation in the media about the circumstances surrounding the loss of my brother but just know the truth is that excessive force was used on him which killed him and that can never be undone, they didn’t try tasers, the baton or the pepper spray at first they went straight for the guns carelessly,’ he alleged.
He revealed the impact Luke’s death has had on their broken family.
“We’re all still processing this right now, I just wanted to give it to as many people that Luke has touched because I know a lot of people loved Luke.”
‘Life will never be the same, he deserved much better than this!! I can’t believe this has happened, he is at peace now.’
‘RIP my dear brother, one day I will see you again, I love you Luke.’
He claimed police used ‘excessive force’ and ‘carelessly’ went straight for their guns when they shot his brother Luke (pictured)
Zac Gilbert wrote in a social media post last Sunday about 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 began threatening police’.
‘The police have attempted to engage further and they have withdrawn and moved from that location and have attempted and continue to communicate with the male subject.’
Sir. Leavers claimed he ‘steered’ at the officers, who ‘had no alternative but to use their firearms’.
‘The police did everything they could to try and resolve this matter peacefully.’
He added that it was ‘not possible’ for police to use a taser.
Officers are investigating the scene of the shooting 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 on the officers’.
He claimed Luke continued to advance despite both officers telling him to drop the knife. He was then shot up to five times.
The incident was captured on CCTV and police body-worn cameras.
The Ethical Standards Command is investigating with the oversight of the Crime and Corruption Commission.