Catching the Hoddle Street Gunman
In this National Nine News special marking 20 years since the Hoddle Street massacre in Melbourne, reporter Brett McLeod talks to John Delahunty. Delahunty was one of the officers responsible for capturing 19-year-old gunman Julian Knight, who killed seven people and wounded 19 others during a shooting rampage on 9 August 1987.
This excerpt from the retrospective news special details the events immediately preceding Knight's surrender to police. Delahunty pays tribute to the victims who were simply going about their business that evening, before describing the moment he faced Knight, who was armed with a semi-automatic rifle. The officer and his partner were directly under fire and had to use their police training to steel themselves to return fire. McLeod and Delahunty paint Knight as a coward, as they discuss his surrender and plea for police not to shoot him.
Knight was a former Australian Army cadet who had been discharged months earlier for stabbing an Army officer in a Canberra nightclub. He was charged with assault and released on bail and ordered to appear in court in November. The charges prevented Knight from pursuing his career in the armed services which, reportedly, had long been his dream. This event, compounded by personal and financial problems, is thought to have been a trigger for the events of 9 August.
Knight was sentenced to seven concurrent sentences of life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 27 years for his crimes.