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Aboriginal man shot by police in Broome

AAP logoAAP 3/10/2016 Rebecca LeMay

An Aboriginal man who was shot in the stomach by Broome police allegedly threatened two officers with a knife after terrifying a taxi driver with the weapon and stabbing his vehicle's tyres.

Police say the 66-year-old man, from the remote Aboriginal community of Balgo, had been a passenger in the taxi along with two women on Monday night when a dispute arose with the driver.

The man then allegedly threatened the driver, who fled and phoned for help.

Before two male constables arrived, he stabbed several of the taxi's tyres, police say.

He was shot once after refusing repeated orders to drop the knife and it is believed he threw the weapon at the officers, Commander Laurie Panaia said on Tuesday.

"We imagine that it was quite a threatening situation," Cdr Panaia told reporters.

"You use a force that is commensurate with that threat."

As is now standard for incidents involving police gunfire in WA, Major Crime Squad detectives will investigate the incident, overseen by the Internal Affairs Unit, and will probe why a taser was not used instead.

"It's case by case - there are situations where a knife is very life threatening - so we'll just have to see what emerges through that investigation," Cdr Panaia said.

The man was taken to Broome Health Campus in a condition not considered life-threatening.

A spokesman for the hospital said he was then flown by the Royal Flying Doctor Service to Perth for medical treatment.

Cdr Panaia said the man "absolutely" could be charged.

Meanwhile, the officers have been taken off the road while the investigation is underway and are receiving counselling.

"They won't be stood down, I don't think," Cdr Panaia said.

"What we would probably do is ask them to do office duties for now."

The shooting had not caused any noticeable tension in the local Aboriginal community, he said.

"This is an isolated incident, it is a specific incident, not related to any community unrest.

"Police shootings are very very rare. I think the last one was over a year ago. It's not something that we take very lightly, of course."

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