A man involved in a standoff with police in Adelaide had pointed a shotgun at officers, had fired shots through a window and had threatened to blow things up before being shot and killed by a police marksman, an inquest has heard.
State Coroner David Whittle has opened an investigation into the death of Matthew Kim Morgan who was shot three times while in the bathroom of a hotel room in Adelaide in October 2017.
At the time he was wanted by police in both South Australia and Queensland and was on bail for offences in NSW.
Counsel assisting Stephen Plummer told the inquest on Tuesday that Morgan's behaviour during the standoff, which lasted less than an hour, was erratic.
"Mr Morgan yelled at police that he had a hostage who was in fact his wife," Mr Plummer said.
"He pointed the shotgun at this wife and threatened to shoot her.
"He set fire to objects and broke windows in both the front and the rear of the room.
"He threw objects that were alight from those windows. He threatened to blow things up and he shot the shotgun twice through the rear window."
Mr Plummer said police had been searching for Mr Morgan since the previous day and had tracked his phone to the hotel.
Once there, they developed a plan to arrest him and had called in negotiators.
But before the plan was put in place, the marksman had spotted Mr Morgan lying or crouching in the bathroom and had fired three shots, two of which were fatal.
An inquest found that the 24-year-old would have died within minutes, at most.
The coroner heard that the marksman had not asked for authority to shoot and, according to police procedures, did not need to seek such authority.
But Mr Plummer said an issue for the coroner to consider would be whether the officer should have sought authority in this case and whether or not there were alternatives to taking the pre-emptive shots.
"Permission for the high-risk operation was to safely arrest Matthew Morgan," he said.
"This plan was developed with approval by (police) hierarchy and subject to significant oversight.
"Yet despite that detailed planning, communication of the plan and oversight by senior police, when the shot presented itself (the marksman) could react by using lethal force when there was no immediate threat to him or another and no requirement or authority to shoot.
"It will be for Your Honour to consider whether, in the particular circumstances, police should or could seek authority prior to shooting when the time and the circumstances permit."
Mr Plummer said the coroner would also consider whether it was necessary for Mr Morgan to be shot three times or whether other tactical options were available and whether negotiatiors should have been brought to the scene at the start of the operation.
He said Mr Morgan had repeatedly asked to speak to a negotiator.
The inquest was continuing.
Australian Associated Press