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Walsh Street: the night that rocked the police world

Steven Tynan and Damian Eyre had a lifetime of policing ahead of them. The Melbourne underworld saw to it they never would.

It was an underworld war born in Melbourne’s streets that left three suspects dead and officers Tynan and Eyre murdered; and later the death of a respected investigator, who took his own life. 

Tynan and Eyre had driven their divisional van to Walsh St in the early hours of October 12, 1988, to make a routine check on a suspect vehicle abandoned in the middle of the road in Walsh Street, South Yarra.

When they arrived, Tynan and Eyre faced a Holden sedan parked, engine running, in the middle of the road. Its headlights were on, and both front doors were wide open. 

As the two constables were looking into the abandoned car, they were shot and killed by armed offenders waiting in ambush.

The Walsh St murders, as they quickly became known, rocked the police world; which believed they had been organised in retribution for the police shooting of two armed robbery suspects.

The two young constables were not involved in those investigations.

Four men were charged with murder but acquitted in a trial in the Victorian Supreme Court in 1991.

One of those charged was Victor Pierce, part of a well-known crime family. He was shot dead in a supermarket car park in 2002.

Tynan and Eyre were later honoured with posthumous Valour Awards on the 30th anniversary of the Walsh Street killings.

Frank Eyre accepted his son’s award in a moving service at Prahran Police Station before reflecting on how that tragic night changed policing forever in Victoria.

“There’s a lot to be learned from that day… There’s things to be learned by myself and older policemen that day – the way it happened,” Mr Eyre said.

Constable Tynan’s mother Wendy laid flowers for her son.

“Everyday is the same. He’s always with us, always.”

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