Yuendumu murder charge update


UPDATE, 14 November 2019, 5.03pm
The NT Police issued the statement below this morning.
Widespread reporting names Constable Zachary Rolfe as the police officer charged with murder following the fatal shooting of Kumunjayi Walker at Yuendumu on Saturday.
The police and the police association continue to avoid using Const Rolfe’s name and decline to confirm his identity. Court records are also not yet available to confirm his name. 

Saturday was a tragic day for the Northern Territory.


A man has died and now a Northern Territory Police Officer has been charged with one count of murder.


The officer has been granted bail to appear in Alice Springs on the 19th December, 2019.


An investigation commenced in response to the incident on Saturday night by Major Crime Squad and Professional Standards Command overseen by Assistant Commissioner Nick Anticich.


This incident is also subject to oversight by the Northern Territory ICAC, Ombudsman and the Coroner.


As this matter is before the court, no further information will be released.


Our thoughts are with everyone involved in Saturday’s incident.


Our sincere condolences go to the deceased man’s family, the Yuendumu and wider Warlpiri community.


This is a difficult time for all members of the Northern Territory police force and the community we serve.


Support is being provided to all people involved in the incident and their families.


Grieving needs to occur.


We acknowledge and respect those who have already held vigils and marches in a peaceful way and ask that this be maintained.


This will be supported by NT Police to ensure the welfare of those attending.


With the court process and other inquiries underway we trust that the community can work together to allow that process to proceed without undue influence.

The NT Police Association issued the following release, with no further comment:

The Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) acknowledges that a decorated member has now been charged with murder, in relation to a critical incident at Yuendumu on Saturday 9 November.

Whilst we acknowledge the tragic circumstances of the event, the member has made it clear that he will plead not guilty and will vigorously contest the charge. He, like all, has the presumption of innocence in his favour.

The member and his family have the complete support of the NTPA, as do all of his colleagues and all of our members, who put their lives at risk every day to protect the community of the Northern Territory from violent offending.

A 28–year old male Northern Territory police officer has been granted bail in an out-of-session Local Court hearing to appear in Alice Springs on December 19, 2019, according to a media release from the police headed “Police Officer charged – Yuendumu shooting”.
The release says: “The officer has been suspended on pay.
“As this matter is before the court, no further information will be released.”
An earlier police media release says he was charged with one count of murder.
UPDATE November 14, 8.15am
The NT Police Association says it “is continuing to support our member who has been charged with murder, as well as his family, and all other officers involved in the critical incident at Yuendumu on Saturday, November 9.
“The officer who has been charged is being provided all appropriate legal advice and support at this difficult time.”


  1. As a 28–year old male Northern Territory police officer has now been charged with murder following the death of 19-year-old Kumunjayi Walker in Yuendumu, we will publish no further information that could be regarded as evidence until the matter is heard again in court on December 19, and from that day onwards, we will report only matters that are raised in open court until it has handed down a verdict.
    ERWIN CHLANDA, Editor.

  2. The emotion in and around Alice Springs at present has me contemplating what happens when we take up arms in the form of opinions and ideas.
    One camp forms a set of strong beliefs whilst the other has opposing ideas.
    When we hang onto our thoughts as though our lives depended upon them, we block out possibility.
    Suddenly, the struggle becomes about struggling.
    Perhaps the answer lies in the simplicity of this quote by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche: “A thought, even a possibility, can shatter and transform us.”
    We’ve been given an opportunity to stop and connect with each other’s stories; the mothers, the fathers, the leaders, the children and those around the world for whom this situation has relevance.
    Above all, it’s a time to connect with the struggle of the 19 year old man and his partner in this story, the 28 year old. Both of them have been catapulted into another dimension.
    Affecting change comes when we are brave enough to connect with a new story; when we commit to that journey through listening, really listening, being open and being willing to walk a path we have never walked before.
    Suddenly, we realise we are all on the same journey.
    Today, of all days, find a few minutes to start building a bridge with someone who comes from a different camp to yours.

  3. @ Libby O’Loughlin: A wonderful, empathetic comment, Libby. I think you have gone to the heart of things.
    The automatic resorting to stereotyped adversarial positions of race and law and order dooms us all to lasting bitterness and anger.
    That makes it a lose-lose situation for everyone. Two young men. In an awful situation. Both inexorably captured by identity politics and racial stereotyping. Very, very sad.

  4. Re: Psuedo Guru Posted November 15, 2019 at 8:15 am “Anarchy rules in Alice Springs.”
    I doubt anarchy rules in Alice Springs.
    These problems are not Alice Springs problems, they are Australian problems.
    The problems relate to “racial tag” support from racists.
    We need to end the Commonwealth’s ongoing promoting, enforcing, defending its wedging of Australians using “racial tags” to diminish our rights as Australians.
    The Commonwealth needs to act for Australians in need of basic services, not racial wedging.
    While “racial tag” wedging continues then yes, the racists are winning.

  5. The minute someone mentions colour or a race of people, they are endorsing racism.
    Let’s all obey the same rules, take responsibility for the consequences of our actions, stop expecting handouts and work together to make Alice a better place to live.


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