Dramatic arrest of alleged gunman in Newcastle CBD

A still from footage of the arrest.
A still from footage of the arrest.

SOME were enjoying a drink at the nearby pub while others had to brake hard to watch the scenes unfold.

The dramatic arrest of an alleged gunman, who is accused of taking police on a short pursuit before a confrontation at one of the city’s busiest intersections on Saturday, startled onlookers.

But not enough for them not to catch the drama-charged incident on their smartphones.

Footage of a team of police dragging the suspect from his car, some officers with guns drawn, has been taken from almost all points of the intersection of Scott and Watt streets.

It had followed a short but tense stand-off between the suspect and police after he had allegedly phoned a police station to tell them he wished to hurt himself and wanted a negotiator to talk him out of it.

But police will allege that the man instead took officers on a short pursuit through several CBD streets, sometimes with a loaded 0.45 calibre Colt handgun being held outside the four-wheel-drive, and with crowds of Saturday afternoon revellers and citygoers on the streets.

He stopped at the intersection before police surrounded the four-wheel-drive.

At least seven officers were involved in the arrest and later seized the handgun, which they say was loaded with eight bullets in the magazine, as well as a knife down the man’s pants.

A female passenger was unhurt and not charged.

The suspect, a 31-year-old Bar Beach man, was taken to the Calvary Mater Hospital for psychiatric assessment before being charged on Sunday afternoon.

The charges include causing danger with a firearm and other gun offences, affray and  counts of serious police pursuit.

He was refused bail to face Newcastle Local Court on Monday.

A DRAMATIC scene unfolded in the Newcastle CBD on Saturday after police pursued a driver who allegedly appeared to be brandishing a gun.

A witness, Simon Bell, told the Herald he saw a silver four-wheel drive being followed by several police vehicles east along Scott Street about 6.30pm.

A man behind the wheel of the four-wheel drive was waving what looked like a handgun out of the window. 

A female passenger was in the vehicle.

Mr Bell, who was outside the Great Northern Hotel, saw the four-wheel-drive being chased the opposite way down Scott Street shortly afterwards.

The driver  still seemed to be waving the weapon.

"I don't know if he was trying to provoke the police or warn them," Mr Bell, of Merewether, said.

Two police cars blocked the street out the front of Newcastle train station.

"As he got to the intersection he knew he was going to get cut off," Mr Bell said.

"So he just pulled up and as he was pulling up at the intersection he threw [what looked like] the gun out the window.

"And whoever the girl was jumped out of the car and ran towards where the police were ... on the corner.

"He jumped out of the car, and they [police] just swarmed on him - all guns drawn.

"Five or six police just jumped on him."

Police have confirmed a man was arrested and taken away for psychiatric assessment.

The suspect, 31, was charged on Sunday afternoon with a range of offences, including gun charges and Skye’s Law, relating to the alleged chase.

He was bail refused to appear in Newcastle Local Court on Monday.