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Why medical staff left Yuendumu on the day Kumanjayi Walker was shot dead by police

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Health workers evacuated from a remote Northern Territory community over safety fears before police shot and killed an Indigenous teenager were blamed for this death, an inquest has been told.

Kumanjayi Walker, 19, died after Constable Zachary Rolfe shot him three times during a botched arrest in Yuendumu, northwest of Alice Springs on November 9, 2019.

An Alice Springs inquest into the incident has heard officers fought to save the Warlpiri man's life but he died on the floor at the local police station about an hour after he was shot.

No medical staff were on call in the community to attend to Mr Walker because the majority had fled earlier in the day after a series of break-ins at their homes left some feeling "very unsafe".

The medical clinic's manager, Luana Symonds, agreed with counsel assisting Peggy Dwyer that the community was upset they had left and some people were hostile when the team returned to Yuendumu three days later.

She also agreed that her home and that of another nurse had been broken into again in their absence and some community members were blaming the health clinic staff for Mr Walker's death.

Despite this, Ms Symonds told the inquest on Monday that she understood why the Warlpiri community was so angry and distressed over her team leaving.

"I speak for myself and the health centre staff at the time that we were there with you at the beginning of your lives and we're still here with you now," she said when asked if she'd like to address the community members listening to the inquest.

"We constantly think about you and what's happened ... Be strong."

The inquest also heard some people in the community were sharing conspiracy theories suggesting NT Health and the police arranged for the clinic staff to leave ahead of Mr Walker's arrest.

"This is so not true ... Totally understand why those thoughts are there," Ms Symonds said.

The inquest heard Yuendumu's health team was dining at the Juicy Rump restaurant in Alice Springs when Const Rolfe shot Mr Walker.

Medical support for the community of about 900 had been assigned to the nursing post at Yuelamu, about 70km from Yuendumu.

But the community's top police officer, Sergeant Julie Frost, called the Yuendumu medical hotline mobile phone for emergency help anyway.

One of Ms Symonds' staff, Cassandra Holland, answered the call at the Alice Springs restaurant.

"She just said she needed help immediately," Ms Symonds said.

"She said there had been a shooting but she had no details. I reminded her that the staff weren't in the community."

Sgt Frost called again minutes later and advised the team that a police officer had shot a community member.

Mr Walker died from his injuries as the Yuelamu medical team drove to the scene.

A jury in March found Const Rolfe not guilty of murdering Mr Walker.

His trial heard Mr Walker's injuries were so severe that even if the medical team had remained in the community they may not have been able to save him.

The hearing continues.

Story by Aaron Bunch, AAP


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