New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # 9735065
Rank: Assistant management accountant – NSW Police Public Service
Stations: MA & R management accounting Corporate, Finance & Business services, Parramatta – H.Q.
Service: From ? ? 1997 to 2 October 2015 = 17 years Service to NSW Police
Born: 28 November 1956
Died on: Friday 2 October 2015
Cause: Shot – Murdered – Terrorist related
Event location: Outside of NSW Police HQ, Parramatta
Funeral date: Saturday 17 October 2015 @ 10am
Funeral location: St Mary’s Cathedral, College St, 2 St Marys Rd, Sydney City – opposite Hyde Park.
Buried at: Cremated
Parramatta shooting: gunman a 15-year-old boy
The teenager shouted religious slogans before firing one shot in the back of the head of a police finance worker as the employee was heading home on Friday afternoon.
NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione (right) and NSW Premier Mike Baird front the media after shooting at Parramatta. Photo: AAP
The police employee has been named as Curtis Cheng, a 17-year veteran of the police force. Police say the shooter is of Iraqi-Kurdish background and was born in Iran.
“We believe that his actions were politically motivated and therefore linked to terrorism,” NSW police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione told reporters in Sydney.
Mr Scipione said police had no information to suggest the gunman posed “this type of threat”.
A police employee was shot dead outside the headquarters in Parramatta.
“We’re a long way from establishing a full picture of this man, his exact motivations still remain a mystery to us,” he said
“We are exploring every avenue with regard to why he did what he did.”
Premier Mike Baird described the events as “chilling”.
“The shock of this event will be felt everywhere,” he told reporters.
Mr Cheng was shot as he left work at the State Crime Command in Parramatta on Friday afternoon.
His killer was shot dead as officers returned fire.
A strike force has been established to investigate.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the terror-related shooting as a “cold-blooded murder”.
Mr Turnbull has urged Australians to go about their day normally despite the incident in Parramatta on Friday.
“This appears to have been an act of politically motivated violence so at this stage it appears to have been an act of terrorism. It is a shocking crime. It was a cold-blooded murder,” he told reporters in Melbourne.
Daily Mail, Australia
‘He always put the family first’: Heartbroken family of accountant gunned down by radicalised Muslim teen, 15, release emotional statement
- Accountant Curtis Cheng, 58, was shot by Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad
- His family have paid tribute to the ‘kind, gentle, and loving’ father-of-two
- Police are probing why finance worker was targeted by lone gunman, 15
- Mr Cheng has been described as an ‘admired and gentle man’ by police
The heartbroken family of the accountant gunned down by a ‘radicalised’ Muslim 15-year-old have paid tribute to the ‘kind, gentle, and loving’ father-of-two.
Curtis Cheng, 58, was shot in the back of the head by lone gunman Farhad Jabar Khalil Mohammad after the teenager stormed the police headquarters in Parramatta, Sydney.
His wife Selina and two children Alpha and Zilvia, both in their 20s, said their father was ‘generous of heart’ and ‘always put family first’.
They said: ‘We would like to thank all those who have expressed their well wishes and blessings upon us following the tragic passing of our most loved husband and father, Curtis Cheng.
‘My father was a kind, gentle, and loving person. He was humourous, generous of heart and always put the family first. He has set a tremendous example for us as a family.
‘We are deeply saddened and heartbroken that he has been taken from us, but we are truly grateful for the fruitful and happy life he has shared with us.’
Mr Cheng, who worked in the Finance and Business Services department for 17 years, was shot dead as he was leaving work on Friday afternoon in an ‘act of terrorism’.
The ‘radicalised’ youth, who is reported to be a Sunni Muslim, was then killed in a shoot-out with three special constables guarding the station.
Mr Cheng’s family said they were ‘touched’ by a personal visit from NSW Premier Mike Baird and the Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione.
‘This was a comforting reminder of the warm regard that was held for him, especially by the New South Wales police community,’ they said.
‘He will be missed by all of us. We will cherish our memory of him forever.’
Police are now probing why Mr Cheng, 58, who had never worn a uniform, was targeted by the lone gunman in a ‘brutal’ and ‘callous murder’ on Friday.
Detectives have described the shooting as a ‘targeted attack’, but they are unsure why Farhad chose the civilian officer ‘who never had a badge’.
Commissioner Scipione said: ‘We are not sure whether he was targeted because he came from a police facility — we may never know. But he was certainly targeted in terms of the shooting.
‘It was a direct shooting. Certainly it wasn’t a ricochet, it was a targeted shot that took his life.’
He confirmed the teenager’s actions were ‘politically motivated and therefore linked to terrorism’.
But he admitted they were still unsure of the schoolboy’s ‘exact motivations’.
‘We’re a long way from establishing a full picture of this man, his exact motivations still remain a mystery to us,’ he said.
‘There is nothing to suggest that he was doing anything but acting alone.’
Floral tributes and messages of support have been left at the site where Mr Cheng was gunned down just metres away from a children’s day care centre.
‘He was a much-loved man, [he had] been with us a long time. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone have a bad word about Curtis and he will be missed,’ Commissioner Scipione said.
‘Curtis was admired and respected by his colleagues. He was a gentle man in every sense.
‘What has occurred is shocking and it is a very sad time for those who worked closely with him and all our employees.’
Farhad visited Parramatta Mosque where he changed into a black robe in the hours before the killing, according to reports.
The ‘radicalised’ youth, who is reported to be a Sunni Muslim, was allegedly able to walk unchallenged into the police headquarters and choose his victim.
The 15-year-old first came across a plain clothes female detective who was not carrying a gun, according to reports.
But he then shot Mr Cheng in the back on the head as the veteran of the police finance department was leaving work.
Witnesses have described seeing the teenagers dancing joyously after shooting the ‘gentle’ public servant while shouting Allah Allah.
Chilling footage has show the teenager running down the street brandishing his gun in the air just seconds after killing the father-of-two Curtis Cheng, 58.
He could be heard screaming at officers before having a shoot-out with three special constables guarding the station.
The 15-year-old continued to fire his handgun outside the police building until he was killed.
Police said the teenager was not on their radar, but revealed that his relative was known to law enforcement or intelligence agencies.
‘[The relative] was a bit of a problem, he did come to the attention of police and counter-terrorism [authorities],’ a source told ABC .
It has also emerged that his sister Shadi may have been attempting to reach Iraq or Syria the day before the shooting as she flew out of Australia on a flight bound for Istanbul on Thursday.
She reportedly took all her belongings with her, according to the ABC.
Farhad, who is of Iraqi-Kurdish background, is understood to have been living with his family in an apartment block in North Parramatta.
Officers searched the teenager’s North Parramatta family home on Friday and took his computer equipment.
But they revealed they had not yet discovered any messages, religious writings or notes left by Farhad.
Police are also looking into whether Farhad may have been on the fringe of an extremist group that had already come to the notice of police.
Farhad was previously active on social media, voicing his support for Team Ricky on reality singing contest The Voice in April 2013.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the Australian Muslim community would be appalled and shocked by the attack.
‘We must not vilify or blame the entire Muslim community with the actions of what is in truth a very small percentage of violent extremist individuals.
‘The Muslim community are our absolutely necessary partners in combating this type of violent extremism.’
He said the issue of radicalisation – particularly in young people – was complex and it was hard to understand the speed at which it was occurring.
NSW premiere Mike Baird said it was an ‘unthinkable act’ that ended his life.
‘I want the family of Curtis and the members of his Police community to know that you don’t face this loss alone. We mourn with you and we are here for you.’
A strike force, Fellows, has been set up to investigate and police are working with Islamic communities, who have offered their support.
NSW Police Association president Pat Gooley said he has spoken to Commissioner Scipione directly about increasing security at stations since Friday’s shooting.
‘Our message is we’ll keep Police Association members safe and the police commissioner is helping us do that,’ Mr Gooley said.
‘What changed on Friday night is that this is the first time in NSW that the NSW Police have been directly targeted as part of a terror incident.’
The commissioner revealed a number of warnings had been sent round to police in the past two years reminding them to be ‘vigilant’ about attacks, but assured that the people of NSW were ‘safe’.
‘I have viewed a number of pieces of footage, I can tell you that this was a brutal crime. It was a terrible crime.
‘We’re attempting to identify a man who was seen to approach the victim and discharge one single shot. Subsequently the assailant remained in the street here in Charles Street before he fired several further shots at a special constable.
‘A number of special constables came out of the building and as they’ve emerged they’ve come under fire.
‘In the exchange that followed the gunman was shot and killed. An employee of the NSW police force has been callously murdered here today. This is a very sobering time for us.’
Commissioner Scipione said it was likely the gunman waited around after the murder in order to ‘commit suicide by cop’.
It was previously reported that there had been increased ‘chatter’ in the past week about a possible attack on the Parramatta headquarters.
Sources said the building had been ‘cased’ and that every officer had been ordered to wear their guns on them at all times this week, even while at their desks.
When questioned about whether police were aware on a possible attack at the station, Commissioner Scipione revealed there had been a number of alerts in 2014 and 2015.
‘There has been activity around a number of locations in NSW, they’re the things we communicate to our officers,’ Commissioner Scipione said.
‘We have drawn officers back to the special warnings which are contained within alert 2015.
‘We’ve refreshed that alert and yet again highlighted the importance of remaining vigilant and being ready to respond should they have to at any location but particularly around police stations. I want to ensure that we don’t jump to conclusions, as I’ve said.
‘I’ve indicated that but we’re keeping an open mind. At this stage we’ve got nothing to link this event to any terrorist-related activity but we could not say that that wasn’t the case. So clearly you would understand we have officers from within the counter-terrorism command.’
The NSW Police Force building is home to the State Crime Command, which includes the homicide, drug, Middle Eastern organised crime and gangs squads.
An investigation was believed to be underway into whether the shooter had been recently charged by a detective from one of the State Crime Command squads.
He was also quizzed about whether staff had allegedly been sent a number of emails warning about men who had been taking photographs of the building’s entrance.
This man was simply leaving work this afternoon and he was gunned down. He was murdered on this street, this very street,’ he said.
Detectives launched a level one critical incident, the highest order they can give, after the attack.
Witnesses reported seeing two bodies lying on the ground covered in white sheets just metres apart.
Dozens of police officers were seen combing the area where the shooting took place from around 10pm on Friday, searching for clues.
Investigators also aimed huge spotlights at neighbouring apartments during the operation.
Residents were evacuated from their homes in buildings nearby the police station and most were allowed to return just after 11pm.
Real estate agent Edwin Almeida said he saw a man with a gun screaming and pacing up and down outside the building on Charles Street.
He said he then saw the man lying on the ground with a police officer pointing a gun at him.
‘We looked out the window, saw security guards and what appeared to be a plain clothes police officer with gun drawn pointing at the person that was now lying on the floor surrounded by a pool of blood,’ he said.
He wrote on his Facebook page: ‘Four five shots fired by man outside our office and in front of NSW police head quarters. Man shot down by guards and detectives.’
A man called Nathan told 2GB Radio that he saw a man lying on the street surrounded by blood.
‘I saw the guy dressed in black on the pavement with blood everywhere,’ he said.
Shopkeeper Sammy Shak told The Daily Telegraph he saw two bodies on the ground after hearing ‘six shots at least’.
‘WE’RE KEEPING AN OPEN MIND’: COMMISSIONER’S COMMENTS ON MOTIVE
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione refused to be drawn on whether the double shooting was terror-related and said detectives do not yet know the motive.
In his media briefing on Friday night, he said: ‘We don’t know the motive and we don’t yet know who the gunman is but he has committed an appalling act of brutality.
‘I want to ensure that we don’t jump to conclusions, as I’ve said, we’re keeping an open mind but there is an investigation that’s on foot.
‘At this stage we’ve got nothing to link this event to any terrorist-related activity but we could not say that that wasn’t the case.
‘So clearly you would understand we have officers from within the counter-terrorism command working alongside homicide but this is a homicide investigation led by homicide.’
‘My message to the people of NSW is that they are safe. There is no threat that we’re dealing with that at this stage we haven’t resolved here.
‘We will get to the bottom of this matter, the investigation will be conducted, it will be very thorough and we’ll do that as soon as we possibly can.’
‘When I went out there was two bodies on the floor and there was cops everywhere all around the area and they told me to go inside the shop straight away,’ he said.
Channel Seven helicopter pilot Andrew Millett said two bodies were visible about 200m from the police station.
Finance worker Rizwan Shaikh, who lives opposite the police headquarters, said he heard the shooting.
‘I finished work and was in the shower and I heard the gunshots,’ Mr Shaikh told The Daily Telegraph.
‘I heard six or seven gunshots and it was pretty loud. In two to three minutes there were cops everywhere.’
Miffy Hong, 33, said her mother called her just after 5pm to tell her she could see a body covered by a sheer near police headquarters.
‘She told me come back I don’t know what’s happening, she doesn’t speak English,’ she said.
The attack occurred outside a daycare centre used by police force families and the children were locked inside for four hours after the shooting with a dead body at their doorstep.
Parents of the children locked inside Goodstart Early Learning voiced fears about their welfare.
Dennis Entriken, whose three-year-old daughter was not allowed to leave for four hours, told Daily Mail Australia: ‘It’s very frustrating. One of the dead bodies is right out of the front of the chilcare centre.
‘What did they see, what did they hear? Is she scared? Is she OK?
‘They’ve told us she’s safe which is good… it’s the unknown which is the issue.
‘If she saw nothing and she’s blissfully unaware then that’s good,’ he said.
In his press conference on Friday night, Commissioner Scipione confirmed that all the children were safe.
‘Everyone’s safe, that’s the good news. There was certainly no suggestion of anyone being injured there. That’s certainly very pleasing to us.
Parramatta shooting: Curtis Cheng was on his way home when shot dead
Fears Parramatta shooting may not be the last attack of its kind
28.11.1956 – 02.10.2015
Beloved husband of Selina.
The love in my heart is everlasting.
Loving father of Alpha and Zilvia.
Relatives, friends of the family, colleagues and members of the community are warmly invited to attend the funeral service for Mr CURTIS CHENG, to be held in St Mary’s Cathedral, College Street Sydney, on Saturday, October 17, 2015 commencing at 10.00am.
In lieu of floral tributes, we ask that you consider a donation to NSW Police Legacy Appeal.
Saturday, 10 October 2015
We will never forget you.
Saturday, 10 October 2015
Our deepest condolences and prayers for your comfort in your time of unspeakable loss. The whole of decentAustralia sends you love and support at this difficult time. May your love and strength as a family help you to regain your hapipiness and harmony.
Two men arrested over murder of NSW police employee Curtis Cheng
Mr Curtis Shu Kei Cheng (28 November 1956 to 2 October 2015)
A member of the New South Wales Police Force from 11 November 1997 to 2 October 2015
The 2nd of October 2015 was the Friday before a long weekend. Many people were getting away early, extending the time that they would have to spend with family and friends. And on most Fridays, Curtis Cheng would have done the same.
However, there had been the demands of preparing the current year’s budget, an enormous task, the last of it completed just a few weeks ago. And there was more to do for the Annual Report. So Curtis stayed back a little longer than usual.
Eventually satisfied he had done all that he could, Curtis left. In his customary, friendly way he said goodbye to his colleagues, wishing them well, and made his way towards the lifts to head home.
Improbable and unjust things happen. We read about them in newspapers and see them on television. We are shocked, often outraged, when they do. But when they happen, they invariably happen to someone else, somewhere else.
But Curtis was one of our own, one of our friends. His circumstances are our circumstances. And the pain and disorientation we feel at Curtis’s death is all the more acute as a result.
Curtis Shu Kei Cheng commenced with the NSW Police Force on the 11th of November 1997, Remembrance Day. And we will always remember Curtis.
His resume was impressive. A lecturer of Accounting at the Hang Seng School of Commerce in Hong Kong. And thereafter at the Open University of Hong Kong. A Management Accountant at the Bank of Bermuda. And later an Administration and Finance Consultant in Hong Kong private enterprise.
He studied in Hong Kong and his postgraduate qualifications, including a Master of Science in Business Administration, were mostly completed in England. He amassed an impressive list of research and publications in accounting, management and education, and on arriving in Australia put his education and skills to good effect in running his own business facilitating trade for companies in China.
Curtis worked in our Financial and Business Services Directorate and his earliest work was introducing business planning to the Force. Systematically measuring what worked well, and what worked less well, to ensure we achieved the best results for the people of New South Wales. At that time this type of work was new, but is now acknowledged as being vitally important to operational policing.
In that first role and in the promotions that deservedly followed Curtis took great pride in his performance, developing a reputation for producing work that could be trusted. In an accountant’s world he was gold.
Curtis continued to work in Financial and Business Services: in Corporate Performance, Finance Budget and Planning, Management Accounting, and as a Systems Accountant.
In recognition of his service with the NSW Police Force, Curtis received NSW Police Medallions recognising the milestones of 10 and 15 years service, the Commissioner’s Long Service Award for 15 years service, as well as the Commissioner’s Olympic and Sesquicentenary Citations.
And in between times, in 1998, the Australian Government recognised Curtis with Australian citizenship, an event he proudly announced to work mates.
Curtis was admired and respected by his colleagues, a gentle man in every sense. Hard working, measured, but unfailingly positive. As you would expect there has been a lot of reflecting over these past couple of weeks. Members of his team recounted Curtis’s familiar greeting, his hand on your shoulder as he asked you how your were. Genuinely interested in the answer.
He valued relationships and nurtured them over a coffee, or a shared meal. And if the topic turned to his beloved football, or his family, you knew you were in for a long chat.
One of his closest co-workers said:
“You know, we all get angry at things from time to time. There must have been things that made Curtis angry. But if there were, I never saw them. Not once. Not in all the years I knew him – he was nothing but positive.”
This year the NSW Police Force has been celebrating the centenary of women in policing. Just last month I attended a gala dinner – a highlight of those celebrations – close to a thousand people in attendance. And Curtis was there, showing his support. Resplendent in black tie, his NSW Police Force citations proudly pinned to his lapels. So proud to be part of the Force. So proud to help recognise a century of outstanding achievements by the women of the Force. It was a wonderful evening.
And more than a few of us were surprised, and we smiled, when Curtis hit the dance floor. This quiet, unassuming man from Finance, this man of numbers and spread-sheets, well he certainly knew how to move. He was a revelation. And he was soon surrounded by many others, up, relaxing, enjoying themselves. It was a night of celebration, a night to be positive, and Curtis led the way.
It is never easy to say goodbye to someone who meant so much to so many. The NSW Police Force has lost a respected and much loved member of its family, Selina, a devoted husband, Alpha and Zilvia, a loving and devoted father.
I can’t describe the devastation inside Police Headquarters and right across the NSW Police Force. The gentlest of friends lost to an act of terror. A man, the manner of whose death, stands in the starkest contrast to the gentle, honourable way he led his life.
But in the aftermath of this tragedy, my officers and I have been struck by the strength and unity of the Cheng family. Not an ounce of hate despite this senseless crime. At a time when they deserved our shoulders for support, they have shown a strength and grace of their own, an example to the rest of us, showing the way.
There cannot be any one of us, least of all Selina, Zilvia and Alpha, for whom Curtis’s death is not painful and incomprehensible. We meet it with grief and tears, shock and despair, hurt and anger. It makes no sense. Perhaps time will provide some answers. Perhaps it will dull the pain. But what cannot be allowed to be dulled is the contribution Curtis made.
I was leafing through Curtis’s Personnel File late one evening last week, reflecting on the man and his contribution. His most recent successful application for a promotion was there, and a couple of statements in particular struck me.
Discussing his data and information technology skills he said:
“One of my hobbies is to create forms and templates to make things organized no matter at work or at home”. And I smiled at the thought of Alpha, Zilvia, and Selina being gently organised on weekends or some other routine task by way of an Excel spread-sheet.
But Curtis also said this:
“Over the past years, I have enjoyed every minute working in the NSW Police Force. And if I am given the honour of becoming a system accountant, I have the confidence to maintain and enhance a harmonious and constructive team spirit.”
That was Curtis.
A man who loved his family, relished his work and held dear the opportunities and pleasures life in Australia afforded him. A man who didn’t take his good fortune for granted or keep it to himself, but who shared it with others through his positive spirit and generosity. At least while it lasted.
Curtis’s fate reminds us that life is fragile. It also reminds us that we are together responsible for the type of community we create. If a positive is to be taken from recent events, it is our collective realisation that our way of life, the freedoms and protections we enjoy, are not unassailable. They need to built, maintained and defended.
We owe it to Curtis to do that.
It is my honour today to posthumously confer a Commissioner’s Commendation for Service on Mr Curtis Cheng. In part the commendation reads:
For outstanding and meritorious performance of duty as a member of the New South Wales Police Force between 1997 and 2015.
Mr Cheng was a long serving member of Financial and Business Services, where he served with diligence and distinction, providing exemplary financial services to the New South Wales Police Force.
Mr Cheng was killed in a callous act of violence outside Police Headquarters in Parramatta on Friday 2 October 2015.
Mr Cheng displayed integrity, loyalty, commitment, professionalism and devotion to duty as a member of the New South Wales Police Force, and thus is highly commended for his service.
– – –
I am deeply honoured and, indeed, privileged to be able to represent every member of the New South Wales Police Force here today to farewell Curtis Cheng.
A man who served the people of New South Wales with honour, and with a caring and gentle heart.
A loving husband and father.
A cherished colleague.
We are grateful to have known you Curtis and to have worked alongside you.
Our prayers travel with you. May your loved ones be comforted. May you rest in peace.
A P Scipione APM
Commissioner of Police
17 October 2015