Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Rundle Street Gun Shop Siege – 1976

Rundle Street Gun Shop Siege – 1976

In mid-1974, Michael Hooke (sometimes known as Michael O’Conner) spent a few months in Royal Park Mental Hospital in Melbourne from December 10 to December 21, 1973, and then from January 9 until March 16, 1974.

 Later that year, he decided that for his life to improve he needed to move to Adelaide, South Australia.

In 1976, just after 11am on May 10th, the 43 old O’Connor entered the Hambly-Clarke & Son Gun Shop at the eastern end of Rundle Street. He picked up two shotguns from the counter, and began to load them with his own ammunition.

O’Connor fired a shot inside the shop and ordered everyone to leave. The staff and customers got out through the front door, with shop owner, Mr Hambly Clark escaping through the back entrance.

The police arrived, the first response officer being unarmed officer, Constable G.P. Marr, who tried to reason with O’Connor, only to have two shots fired in his direction. The area was quickly cordoned off, and the Armed Offenders Apprehension Group (a predecessor the today’s STAR Force) arrived on scene.

The Armed Offenders Apprehension Group fired tear gas into the shop to try and get O’Connor to leave. About 5 minutes later O’Connor emerged from the shop brandishing two shotguns.
 He was ordered to drop the guns, but refused. Instead he fired off some random shots, then levelled his guns at near by police officers.

A loud crack rang out in Rundle Street, O’Connor felt hot steal penetrate his lower chest. Across the street in a furniture store window, sat Det. Sr. Const. Ramsden, SAPOL’s best marksman, who had just taken the order to shoot at will.

Police set upon O’Connor, and he was taken away to the Royal Adelaide Hospital in an ambulance, only to die a short time later from a haemorrhage in his upper stomach caused by the gunshot wound.
No motive was ever put forward for the siege.

© 2018 Allen Tiller


1976 'MAN SHOT IN LONG SIEGE', The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 11 May, p. 1. , viewed 05 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article131816642

Robertson D, 2014, Adelaide has witnessed several violent incidents that stopped the city before Rodney Clavell’s siege, The Advertiser, viewed 5 Jan 2018, http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/adelaide-has-witnessed-several-violent-incidents-that-stopped-the-city-before-rodney-clavells-siege/news-story/2b7d526fadcc034e3b4a67938e4fff10

1976 'Police justified in firing. coroner says', The Canberra Times (ACT : 1926 - 1995), 28 July, p. 12. , viewed 06 Jan 2018, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article110819250

Sadler, R. K. (Rex Kevin) & Hayllar, T. A. S. (Thomas Albert S.) & Powell, C. J. (Clifford J.) 1990, Enjoying English. Book 3, Macmillan, South Melbourne