News State NT News Darwin mourns ‘beloved’ taxi driver and IT specialist killed in mass shooting

Darwin mourns ‘beloved’ taxi driver and IT specialist killed in mass shooting

Hassan Baydoun was killed at the Palms Motel in Darwin during a mass shooting. Photo: Facebook
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One of the four men killed in Tuesday’s mass shooting in Darwin was a “beloved” IT specialist from Lebanon who had come to Australia to study.

Hassan Baydoun, 33, worked as a taxi driver and was killed after alleged gunman Ben Hoffman opened fire with a banned pump-action shotgun at four locations in Darwin from about 5.45pm.

Mr Baydoun’s employer, Blue Taxi Company, issued a statement confirming the loss of “one of their long-term, beloved drivers” in the deadly shooting.

“Last night, in a terrible unprecedented mass shooting, never before seen in our home town, Blue Taxis lost one of their longterm, beloved drivers,” the company said.

“Our company is heartbroken and his colleagues are in a state of shock.

“This is not what our city stands for … We pray that we never have to witness anything like this ever again.”

It is believed that Mr Baydoun was shot at random and had no connection to Mr Hoffman, who police believe was seeking out one particular person when he embarked on his alleged hour-long rampage.

The Palms Motel in Darwin was cordoned off by police after a gunman allegedly went from door to door. Photo: AAP

A recent university graduate, Mr Baydoun had studied at Charles Darwin University, where he completed a master’s degree of information technology in software engineering.

He loved his life in Darwin and was preparing to start his PhD.

His cousin and fellow Darwin resident Abdullah Salman told AAP Mr Baydoun was a “very easy going person who was always smiling”.

“He was a lovely person, he had a good heart,” Mr Salman said.

Mr Baydoun had been driving his taxi just like any ordinary day but in a tragic case of unfortunate timing he returned home to have an evening meal at the Palms Motel on McMinn Street just as the shooting spree began.

After allegedly shooting Mr Baydoun dead, the shooter then went to the nearby Buffalo Club, where police say a body of a man was found in the car park.

He then headed to a third location in Jolly Street, where the suspect allegedly shot and killed a man who was watching TV with his housemate.

A fourth grisly discovery was made in The Gardens, where witnesses told of hearing multiple shots. One man was reportedly killed and a woman injured.

Mr Hoffman is a Darwin man known to police and was wearing an electronic monitoring bracelet at the time of the incident.

The 45-year-old outlaw motorcycle club member had been released on parole in January after being sentenced to six years in jail.

Hoffmann’s brother is Clinton Hoffmann, a successful businessman who is widely respected in Darwin.

An alleged gunman who killed four people in Darwin has been named as local Ben Hoffman. Photo: Facebook

He was arrested about 6.45pm and is in custody in hospital.

Northern Territory Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said it was not known if or how the victims were linked to Mr Hoffmann, and that police could not yet publicly identify the other victims.

He said it was too early to say if Mr Hoffman was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the mass shooting.

The NT government has since ordered a review of the 103 people on parole in the territory, and another 196 under active monitoring.

Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the government had asked for a “detailed report from the Parole Board of the alleged offender and directed an immediate review of the 103 people currently on parole”.

“We’ve directed an immediate review of everyone on electronic monitoring,” Mr Gunner said.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the government would review electronic monitoring in the territory following the mass shooting. Photo: AAP
“This work will be thorough,” Mr Gunner said.

“It will be completed by the end of next week. While we have no reason to believe an event like this will occur again, it is critical we make every effort that it does not.”

NT Commissioner for Corrections Scott McNairn confirmed parole had been granted to Mr Hoffman under 23 strict conditions.

Mr Hoffman had previously breached his parole for breaking curfew, for which he was given a 14-day custodial sentence, the commissioner said.

He had also passed random drug tests.

“We need to review that and review the circumstances of the case, which is tragic,” Commissioner McNairn said.

-with AAP