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Canberra Airport gun suspect to take psychiatric assessment

written by Adam Thorn | August 15, 2022

Canberra Airport terminal

The 63-year-old man charged with firing a gun at Canberra Airport has been ordered to undertake a psychiatric assessment by the ACT Magistrates Court.

Ali Rachid Ammoun, from NSW, was reported to have worn a Hawaiian-style shirt to the proceedings on Monday but did not enter a plea.

The alleged offender, who appeared via video link, is facing three charges but did not apply for bail. Ammoun will return to court on 5 September.

It follows reports that passengers ran for cover during the “terrifying” incident at the departures terminal on Sunday when the suspect apparently shot multiple times at windows. Nobody was injured.

Ammoun’s solicitor Tamzin Lee made a request to prohibit the ABC from reporting on the case, but magistrate Robert Cook said the broadcaster had a “right to report on such matters”.


Canberra Airport chief executive Stephen Byron said later, “We had our team both onsite and others coming into play straight away.

“The AFP has trained for these sorts of situations, where you have an armed intruder in an airport environment, and they have teams that are in place and they responded and indeed engaged immediately.

“In this case, the offender was calm and submitted to their arrest.”

He added police worked “incredibly efficiently and effectively” to establish that nobody else was involved.

“In fact, it was a pretty quick process, taking about three and a quarter hours for the terminal to be fully reopened.”

The man has been reportedly been charged with discharging a firearm at a building, unlawful possession of a firearm, and discharging a firearm near a person causing alarm.

State police are now urging any witnesses who haven’t previously come forward to call Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 and quote reference 7187298.

ABC reporter Lily Thomson was at the airport and told the broadcaster, “I saw this grandma with a baby and the fear in her face, and I knew it was something serious.

“So we all ran, and I stayed with that grandma and her baby and hid behind an information desk. We stayed there for a couple of minutes until security told us to evacuate out to the car park.

“Everyone was hiding behind chairs, and people were running.

“It was terrifying. We didn’t know what was going on. The look on people’s faces was quite terrifying.”

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