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Man went on a drug-driven frenzy and threatened people before being killed by police

Man went on drug-fuelled outburst, threatening people with stolen steak knives, claiming to be the Holy Ghost just before being killed by police, coroner hears

  • Jesse Aaron Kermode was shot dead by Queensland Police in September 2018
  • He had a significant criminal history, including robberies and convictions for fraud
  • Died after exchange with officers at Ipswich train station, was on drugs

A drug-fuelled man said he was the Holy Ghost and threatened people with stolen steak knives before being shot at least six times by police at a train station, a Queensland coroner has said.

The death of Jesse Aaron Kermode at the hands of officers in Ipswich on September 16, 2018 will be the subject of an inquest later this month.

The 26-year-old had a notable criminal history with convictions for violent robbery, theft, fraud, public nuisance and drug-related offences, counsel who assisted Rhiannon Helsen told a hearing before the investigation Wednesday.

Kermode — who had served time in prison the year before his death — had been addicted to drugs since his teens, had episodes of drug-induced psychosis, and had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

Around 12:30 p.m. the day he died, Kermode stole a pack of six steak knives.

Jesse Aaron Kermode, 26, (pictured) was shot dead by Queensland Police in September 2018

Shortly after, he was seen kicking at cars, yelling and screaming nearby, then brandishing what appeared to be a knife at the Redbank train station.

Ms Helsen said people who interacted with Kelmode on that day “consistently describe his behavior as bizarre and sometimes approach people to ask very personal questions, mumble biblical remarks, yell randomly, kick cars and speak gibberish.”

“He appeared to be under the influence of drugs and was quite confrontational with some of the individuals he met,” she added.

Kelmode returned home, but left around 2:30 p.m. and got off the train again at Ipswich station, where he asked skateboarders for directions.

“He then took out a serrated steak knife and asked if they knew who he was and why they were playing his game,” Ms Helsen said.

“He told them he was the Holy Ghost.”

Police were told an armed person received another report when Kermode later produced a knife at a supermarket after being refused a plastic shopping bag.

At around 4pm, he returned to Ipswich train station, where authorities detained the train he had boarded.

Kelmode gestured at two police officers with a knife, approached a passenger sitting next to him, then walked over to the police and forced them to back off the train.

Body-worn CCTV and police CCTV footage captured the events, showing him refusing to drop the knife, moving faster toward police, yelling and appearing to lunge while holding the weapon.

An investigation into the circumstances behind Mr Kermode's death will begin later in December

An investigation into the circumstances behind Mr Kermode’s death will begin later in December

Another officer arrived and heard verbal orders from the police.

He described the sound of “terror” in voices and suspected an officer had already been killed, Ms Helsen told the hearing.

Kermode made his way to this officer and got less than ten feet away when all three police officers – who said they “live in great fear for their safety” – opened fire.

Ms Helsen said 19 rounds were fired, with six to seven bullets hitting Kelmode.

He died of gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen, but a pathologist found that a potentially lethal amount of methamphetamine in his body “had a significant effect on his behavior prior to the shooting.”

State coroner Terry Ryan is expected to hear about seven witnesses during a two-day inquest listed in Brisbane from December 20.

The inquest will take into account the circumstances leading up to Kelmode’s shooting, including his mental health treatment and his involvement with the Queensland Corrective Services, whether the police acted in accordance with procedures and in the appropriate manner , and whether the training of the agents is sufficient.



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