At 3.50am on Monday, May 1, 2000, I was seated in a patrol vehicle with Constable Sharnelle Cole and Sergeant Chris Mulhall. It was a routine job: Death threats had been spoken of 14 hours earlier and we were performing background checks on the people involved.
I was sat in the back seat listening to the information coming in. We were only going to be there a few minutes, so I left the vehicle door open. It was dark and still night in a good middle-class Brisbane suburb.
All of a sudden I heard a pat-pat-pat sound. I thought it must be a neighbourhood dog running to the vehicle. But when I turned and looked towards the noise, standing outside the door was a man.
Pointed at my face from less than a metre away was a .22 calibre rifle. Bang, I was shot in the face. I doubled over and was shot a second time in the arm. The sergeant heard me screaming and saw my head being flung across the other side of the patrol vehicle. He thought I was dead.
I attempted to exit the vehicle through the opposite door, but the child locks were on. I sat up. The sergeant’s door was open, his seat was empty, and my partner was splattered with blood and looked completely motionless. I drew my firearm, shouted at Sharnelle to get help and went out through the door from where I was shot. I went into fight mode and began searching for the gunman and my sergeant. I found neither of them but confronted two people in the street who had come out to help.
I sent them back in to their house and returned to my partner, found her alive, and stood guard over her, until backup arrived. A massive manhunt commenced for the offender, Nigel Parodi, who was found three weeks later in bushland 2km from where we were ambushed.
He used the rifle he attacked us with to take his own life.
Chris, Sharnelle and I, despite all suffering multiple gunshots, incredibly survived.
An audio recording of the radio communication during the shooting formed part of the nominations for our bravery awards. However, it was just the beginning of a tumultuous decade of surgery, setbacks and legal battles alongside professional and personal lows and highs.
This is part of a feature that appeared in the October-November 2017 issue of MIX. Read how Daryl became a motivational speaker