State mourns cop killed in drug raid
September 9, 2010 - 7:14PM
Bill Crews made the ultimate sacrifice when he was gunned down during a routine drug raid.
The 26-year-old trainee detective died in a Sydney hospital a short time after midnight - the 12th cop in four decades in NSW to be shot and killed in the line of duty.
"We have lost a brother, we've lost a son, we've lost a good mate, but most important we've lost a colleague," said his mate and Police Association president Scott Weber.
Visibly shaken and obviously distressed, Mr Weber said police across NSW were mourning.
"It is so upsetting when we see one of our colleagues make the ultimate sacrifice in protecting us all."
The 26-year-old was one of eight officers from the Middle Eastern Organised Crime Squad carrying out a routine drug operation at an apartment block at Bankstown in Sydney's southwest.
They were fired upon outside the targeted property on Cairds Avenue about 9pm (AEST) on Wednesday, with Const Crews hit in the head and neck.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione on Thursday paid tribute to his team, who had tried desperately to save him.
"(They) showed extraordinary bravery and composure under duress to render first aid ... while at the same time arresting several people and securing the crime scene and putting a perimeter in place," he said.
The neighbourhood was in lockdown during the three-hour siege that followed, with negotiators called in as officers wearing bulletproof vests patrolled the streets and told residents and onlookers to stay indoors.
They were supported by the air wing, dog unit and rescue unit.
Eight people were eventually taken into police custody, and two men were charged, although no drugs were found at the property.
The men were refused bail in Bankstown Local Court after one of them, Philip Nguyen, received treatment for a swollen left eye, a grazed nose and a swollen cheek bone.
The 55-year-old is facing six charges including shooting with intent to murder and discharge of a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Geehad Ghazi, 27, has been charged with possession of an unauthorised firearm.
Meanwhile, NSW parliament paused to honour the slain officer, with Premier Kristina Keneally paying tribute to the young man who gave his life while serving the community.
She recognised the suffering of his father Kelvin, who retired from the police force in 2000, his brother Ben, an officer in Sydney, his two sisters, Rebecca and Kate, and mother Sharon.
"They've lost him in the most unimaginable way, and we today as a state stand behind them in support," Ms Keneally said.
The officer's death has prompted renewed calls for the introduction of mandatory life sentences for offenders who murder police officers.
"Police go out each day, they tackle risks each day that are inherent in their job, and we owe them, we owe their families, the knowledge that the police officer if they are killed on duty, if they're murdered, there should be mandatory life sentences applied to the criminals who do it," Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said.
The last officer killed on duty was Constable Glenn McEnally, shot dead at Hillsdale, in Sydney's southeast, in April 2002.
State mourns cop killed in drug raid
Law enforcement risk their lives daily on our behalf, but this tragic death seems to have been particularly affecting. I stopped in at a local station today to give my condolences - don't know how often police are thanked for facing the lowlife scumbags they do, but I felt it needed saying in person.
Can only hope the NSW Police Force motto holds true:
Culpam Poena Premit Comes - Punishment Follows Close On Guilt