The mother of NSW postal worker Steve Hodge is in a “horrific state” after witnessing her mentally ill son being shot by police outside his workplace, a union says.
Steve Hodge, 51, was shot three times at Warners Bay, near Newcastle, on Wednesday afternoon after he moved towards officers while holding a large knife.
Mr Hodge died at the scene.
CEPU Branch Secretary Jim Metcher said the part-time Australian Post worker of 20 years had been sent home sick earlier in the day.
“He went home and later returned to the post office and had some exchange between him and the manager at the back of the office and that led to the incident,” Mr Metcher told AAP.
After he had returned home on Wednesday morning, Mr Hodge’s mother followed her son back to Warners Bay post office where she watched the confrontation unfold in the car park.
“She is in a horrific state at the moment. It is a really distressing time for her and the family,” Mr Metcher said.
Despite his long history of mental health illness, Mr Hodge was always held in high regard by his colleagues, he said.
The Warners Bay post office reopened on Thursday morning.
“We are saddened by the loss of a valued, long-term team member and our thoughts are with his family and colleagues,” an Australian Post spokeswoman said in a statement.
“We will work with relevant authorities to thoroughly investigate all aspects of this tragic event.”
The incident prompted a lockdown of the nearby Warners Bay Early Learning and Care Centre on Wednesday afternoon.
“I basically said `lockdown’ – we need to get inside,” a care worker told AAP.
“The educators looked at my face and knew it wasn’t a drill.”
A police spokeswoman said authorities would be reviewing video footage of the incident and an autopsy would be conducted on Thursday.
A police critical incident team will investigate.