Death of Adam Salter

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Adam Salter was shot and killed in his Sydney home in November 2009 after police responded to a call that the 36-year-old was stabbing himself with a knife. He was shot in the back by a New South Wales Police Sergeant Sheree Bissett who yelled "Taser, Taser, Taser" before discharging her gun. The shooter later claimed that Mr Salter was threatening another officer with the knife and that lethal force was her only option. However, the coroner found that there was strong evidence that the policewoman mistakenly used her gun instead of her taser.[1][2]

The police actions on the day, and the Critical Incident Investigation which followed, were sharply criticised by Scott Mitchell, the NSW deputy state coroner, at the 2011 inquest. Mental health advocates say that Salter's case was a "failure of care". Psychiatric experts say that such tragedies will happen again without systemic change to Australia's mental health system.[1][3]

"The high-ranking homicide detective, [Detective Inspector Russell Oxford] who led the investigation into the 2009 police shooting of mentally ill man Adam Salter has admitted that a report he gave to senior police soon after the incident contained false information." ... "The commission heard that, at the time of writing the report, Inspector Oxford had neither been present at any of the seven interviews police had conducted with witnesses, nor had he read any written transcripts of these interviews."[4]

The Adam Salter shooting was the subject of an episode of Four Corners, the award-winning investigative journalism TV program.[5] In October 2014, four officers were charged for giving false evidence and have been ordered to stand trial on 26 April 2016.[6][7]

In New South Wales, other police shooting fatalities related to mentally-ill people included Elijah Holcombe (shot dead in Armidale in 2009), Michael Capel (shot dead in the Hunter Region in 2008), and Roni Levi (shot dead on Bondi Beach in 1997). In Victoria, the fatalities included the 2008 shooting death of Tyler Cassidy.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Magistrate Scott Mitchell, Deputy State Coroner (14 October 2011). "Inquest into the death of Adam Quddus Salter" (PDF). File Number: 3333/09. 
  2. ^ Paul Bibby (14 October 2011). "Police response an utter failure, coroner finds". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  3. ^ a b Quentin McDermott (5 March 2012). "Shooting deaths spark call for mental health overhaul". ABC News. 
  4. ^ "Detective admits report on police shooting was wrong". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Quentin McDermott and Morag Ramsay (March 12, 2012). "Closing Ranks". Four Corners. 
  6. ^ "Four NSW police charged over shooting". Sky News. 31 October 2014. Archived from the original on 30 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Nowra officer to stand trial". South Coast Register. 28 July 2015.