Farmer fired rifle at SA police: inquest

SA cattle farmer Alexander Kuskoff was shot dead by an officer wearing night-vision goggles from 139m away during a five-hour siege, an inquest has heard.

A cattle farmer who fired a high-powered rifle at police during a five-hour siege in rural South Australia was shot dead by an officer from 139 metres away, a coroner has heard.

Alexander Kuskoff, 50, was shot in the chest and stomach after a tense stand-off with police at his isolated Elwomple farm, near Tailem Bend, shortly before midnight on September 16.

At a coronial inquest into Kuskoff's death on Tuesday, counsel assisting Naomi Kereru said the farmer that night had made triple-zero calls threatening to "bomb everyone and kill everyone with guns".

Ms Kereru said the calls prompted police to attend the property where they set up cordons and made contact with Kuskoff before he ran inside his home, where he lived alone.

She said Kuskoff's family had noticed him behaving "very strangely" that week and the day before the siege one of his brothers had called a rural emergency service line seeking assistance.

Kuskoff was killed after he left the house and fired his gun, which police then believed to be a shotgun, near officers taking cover in trees.

"Kuskoff reportedly levelled and aimed his gun in their direction and they heard projectiles pass through the trees and hit the ground near their positions," Ms Kereru told the Coroners Court in Adelaide.

"A police helicopter which was monitoring the incident was also shot at."

A STAR Group officer equipped with night-vision goggles returned fire, hitting Kuskoff twice in the abdomen and chest from a range of about 139m.

"Kuskoff, after his death, was found to be in possession of a high-powered Russian brand rifle which held 6.5mm rounds," Ms Kereru said.

Ms Kereru said he also had a loaded pistol in the back of his pants and both weapons were registered by Kuskoff, who held a valid gun licence.

The purpose of the hearing was to determine whether Major Crime investigators had the resources to complete a comprehensive investigation into the cause and circumstances of Kuskoff's death.

The inquest was adjourned until December as police continue to obtain witness statements and forensic reports.

Source AAP

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