Warners Bay: Steve Hodge went home sick

Flowers outside the Warners Bay post office on Thursday. Pic: Max Mason-Hubers.’Put it down or we will shoot’
Nanjing Night Net

As it happened: Warners Bay shooting

An Australia Post worker who was shot dead after lunging at police with a knife on the NSW Central Coast was not sacked on the day of the shooting, but had left work because he was feeling unwell, union officials say.

Steve Hodge, a long-term Australia Post employee who had a history of mental health issues,died outside the Warners Bay Post Officeon Wednesday afternoon in a tense confrontation with police that a witnessrecorded on a mobile phone camera.

The footage, taken about 3.15pm, shows police repeatedly pleading with Mr Hodge to drop the large knife he was carrying.

“C’mon mate. You don’t want to do this … Put it on the ground or we’ll shoot,” one officer can he heard saying, before Mr Hodge advancedon one of the officers with his knife raised.

Three shots rang out andMr Hodge fell to the ground. He died at the scene.

It has been reported that Mr Hodge was sacked from his job on the day of the shooting, before returning to the post office that afternoon with theknife.

However, the Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union (CEPU), which represents postal workers, said Mr Hodge, a union employee,had not been terminated from his job.

Instead, Mr Hodgehad gone home from work that day “because he was unwell”, a union spokesmansaid.

An Australia Post spokesman said the organisation was providing counselling and support to staff following Mr Hodge’s death.

“We are saddened by the loss of a valued, long-term team member andour thoughts are with his family and colleagues,” the spokesman said.

“We will do everything we can to provide them with support at this difficult time, and we are providing counselling services to our staff and customers.

“Nothing is more important to Australia Post than the safety of our people and we will work with relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate all aspects of this tragic event.”

CEPU branch secretary Jim Metchersaid that Mr Hodge was “always held in high regard and supported by his colleagues”.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends along with our local retail members who have been subjected to this horrific ordeal,” Mr Metcher said.

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