Senior Sergeant

Perry James IRWIN

YEAR OF DEATH

2003

JURISDICTION

Queensland

DETAILS OF DEATH

On the morning of Friday 22 August 2003 Damien Lawrence Coates 21 years a violent offender and drug addict was evicted by his father from the family dwelling after an argument. When leaving the house Coates boasted to his father that he intended to shoot down planes and shoot coppers. Shortly there after Coates accosted two youths who were riding their bikes in bushland near the Caboolture East State School Coates had possession of a stolen 30-30 high powered rifle wrapped in an old blanket he yelled at the two youths to “get out” as he was going to shoot police. The youths immediately alerted Caboolture Police and shortly afterwards shots were heard in the vicinity where Coates had spoken to the two youths. Senior Sergeant Perry Irwin and two Constables arrived at the area to investigate the shots during a search of the vicinity Senior Sergeant Irwin was walking up an incline into a clearing to get signal for his mobile phone when Coates who was partly hidden in a concrete pit ambushed the officer and fired a volley of shots. Although the officer was wearing a bullet proof vest one bullet struck the officer in the neck and another under the arm through the unprotected side of the vest killing him almost instantly. Coates also fired in the direction of the other officers preventing them from reaching their colleague. An armoured vehicle was brought from the nearby Woodford prison to reach the Senior Sergeant but he had already died. The offender’s body was located some time later with a gunshot wound to the head; this had been caused by his own hand. Senior Sergeant Perry James Irwin was awarded a full police funeral and was laid to rest in the Yarraman Cemetery.

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