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Officers shot in the face and neck undergo surgery

9News.com.au logo 9News.com.au 19/01/2019 9News Staff

Two police officers have been shot in the face and neck during a siege in northern New South Wales overnight, which ended with the death of an elderly man.

Three police officers from the New England command were responding to a domestic assault at the home of Lesley and Eric Newman in Glen Innes, in the state's Northern Tablelands, about 10pm last night when they were fired at. 

A bullet from a rifle fired by Eric Newman, 74, on the Church Street property grazed the face of Sergeant Mark Johnston before hitting Senior Constable Helen McMurtrie in the neck.

a man smiling for the camera: Glen Innes police shooting © Supplied Glen Innes police shooting

"I was inside playing the PlayStation, next minute we heard a gunshot, getting dragged across the frown lawn. We ran up to help (the officers) and another gunshot went off," a witness told 9News.

"I ran up to the female officer that'd been shot in the neck and the police asked me to put pressure on the wound.

"She was bleeding out, saying she was getting cold and tired."

a woman sitting at a table with a vase of flowers: Glen Innes police shooting © Supplied Glen Innes police shooting

As an ambulance as rushed to the scene and police called for back-up to attend, Eric Newman then turned the gun on himself. His 59-year-old wife survived the ordeal with only minor injuries.

The injured officers were airlifted to Gold Coast Hospital in a stable condition, where they remain tonight.

Sgt Johnston today underwent surgery and is in a stable condition and in the company of his pregnant wife, while SC McMurtrie also underwent surgery and is now in an induced coma.

Police said the third officer, a female probationary constable, was uninjured.

a box truck that is parked on the side of a road: A third officer, a female probationary constable, was uninjured. © 9news A third officer, a female probationary constable, was uninjured.

SC McMurtrie's father today released a statement in relation to the incident, saying the bullet that hit her neck missed a major artery by just one millimetre. 

A critical investigation into the shooting has now been launched by police after it was revealed that Eric Newman had a number of firearms registered to the Church Street address but had no significant criminal history.

Police Association of NSW acting president Kevin Morton said incidents like this sent shock waves through the police family and the community.

“Incidents like this are a stark reminder of the dangers our police officers face every day in order to keep our community safe,” Mr Morton said in a statement.

"Our thoughts are with the officers and their families at this incredibly difficult time. I’m sure the whole community is with us when we say we wish these officers a full and quick recovery."

Mr Morton said an appeal had been set up to assist the two officers with rehabilitation.

a green lit up at night: Lesley Newman is tonight assisting an ongoing police investigation, in light of her husband's registered firearms. © 9news Lesley Newman is tonight assisting an ongoing police investigation, in light of her husband's registered firearms.

"Policing is a dangerous job. Incidents like this are a reminder for all of us of what a great job our police do and the risks they take every day," he said.

"There are thousands of men and women putting their lives on the line every day to help make our state a better and safer place."

Acting Commissioner Gary Worboys today also released a statement offering his support to the two injured officers.

"As an organisation, we are rallying around the officers and providing any support they need to assist in their recovery and we look forward to welcoming them back to work when they are ready," he said.

"Incidents like this highlight the very real dangers of policing and I thank everyone in the community for their support and well wishes."

Meanwhile, the local Glen Innes community is tonight struggling to understand how the incident came to be, with many residents saying Eric Newman was known for hunting in Australia and overseas.

With AAP. 

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