A WANGARATTA police graduate has won a prestigious award honouring two police officers who were gunned down in one of the country’s most horrific police shootings.
Brendon Gordon won the Tynan-Eyre Memorial Prize at his graduation on December 13 for being top of his squad in physical skills after 33 weeks of officer training.
The award remembers Shepparton-born Constable Damian Eyre, 20, and Constable Steve Tynan, 22, who were gunned down as they checked an abandoned car parked in Walsh Street in Melbourne in 1988.
No one has ever been convicted over the killings.
Constable Gordon, 29, grew up in Wangaratta and is set to join the Wodonga police station in April for two years after a short stint at Wangaratta from February.
He said the significance of the Tynan-Eyre Memorial Prize was not lost on him, despite it being 25 years since the Walsh Street killings.
“It was a real surprise (to win it),” he said.
“It’s a real honour.”
Constable Eyre’s father Frank Eyre, a retired policeman who still lives in Shepparton, said the award continued to keep the memory of his son alive.
“It’s something they’ve achieved that they’ve got for the rest of their life and no one can take it off you. It’s history, isn’t it?” Mr Eyre said.
He said the telling and re-telling of the Tynan-Eyre story was crucial because no one had been brought to justice for the murders of his son and his colleague.
Victor Peirce, who died in 2002, Trevor Pettingill, Anthony Farrell and Peter McEvoy were tried for the murders, but acquitted in 1991.
There have been three failed attempts at opening an inquest into the deaths and in February this year, police conceded there was not enough new evidence to retry Pettingill, Farrell and McEvoy after changes to double jeopardy laws in 2011.
Mr Eyre said he would not lose hope that justice could be served for his son and Constable Tynan.
“They’re still encouraging people to talk about it and hopefully the day is going to come. And I haven’t given up. Once you do it gets forgotten and it’s not going to get forgotten while these awards are being won by and achieved by recruits and graduating members of the police force,” Mr Eyre said.
“It’s never going to go away.
“That young person will go to a police station and say ‘I won the Tynan-Eyre award and this is the story’.”
Constable Gordon said he had made the switch from a retail career to policing because it was a job that would change day-to-day.
“I have seen the real side of things rather than just the glossy brochures,” he said.
“One day is never the same as the next.”
Mr Eyre said police officers needed to continue to put themselves on the line for the community, no matter what had happened in the past to officers including his son and Constable Tynan.