Geraldton shooting: Indigenous woman dies after being shot by police in Western Australia

Calla Wahlquist
Photograph: Getty Images

An Aboriginal woman has died after being shot by police in Geraldton, about 400km north of Perth in Western Australia.

The 29-year-old was shot at a home in the suburb of Karloo.

WA police said they had attended the house about 6.15pm on Tuesday and that “during an incident at the address, an officer discharged their firearm causing a woman to receive a gunshot wound”.

She was taken by ambulance to Geraldton regional hospital but died shortly afterwards. Police did not confirm her death until Wednesday morning.

A statement released by police at 9.30pm local time said only that she had been taken to hospital.

A crowed gathered outside Geraldton police station on Wednesday demanding that the police officers involved be stood down.

Detectives from the Perth-based major crime squad travelled to Geraldton to begin an investigation into the woman’s death, while the police internal affairs unit began conducting a separate investigation into police conduct.

The WA Police union issued a statement saying it was “standing by” the police involved. “Our thoughts go out to the police officers involved and their families in this terrible circumstance,” union president Harry Arnott said.

It is the third fatal police shooting in WA in the past 12 months.

The Yamatji woman, with ties to the Mullewa community about 100km inland from Geraldton, had a seven-year-old child. Her foster mother travelled to Geraldton on Wednesday to learn what had happened.

It is the second death in police custody to rock the tight-knit Aboriginal community in Geraldton in five years. The Yamatji woman Ms Dhu, who died in Port Hedland in 2014, was raised in Geraldton and her grandmother and family still live there.

A recommendation from the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody that police not be allowed to investigate police was built, in part, from the 1988 death in Geraldton police station of popular local footballer Edward Cameron.

Cameron’s death sparked a protest march through Geraldton.

Justice advocate Debbie Kilroy, who has been in contact with the woman’s family, has called for an independent investigation into the death.