Shooter’s chilling downward spiral

 

It was quiet spring night in Penrith when a heavily-built man dressed in black was seen walking calmly down the street towards the police station with a 12-gauge shotgun in his hands.

What residents saw from their windows shortly after Daniel King arrived there at 9.35pm on Wednesday resembled a scene from an action film, as the tattooed bodybuilder turned his gun on police officers.

Amid the rattling of dozens shots fired, footage shows the 32-year-old gunman hitting the ground before being dragged into the police station, where the same officers he'd opened fire on tried to save his life.

There was nothing they could do and King died in the dramatic and headline-making way he told his ex-lover he wanted to.

Daniel King was shot dead by police on Wednesday.
Daniel King was shot dead by police on Wednesday.

On his way to the police station he'd fired his shotgun at the home of a former lover and mother-of-three, Stacey Taylor, who bundled her children into a bedroom fearing for their lives.

In the months leading up to the rampage, he'd made threats to Ms Taylor, who is 27 weeks pregnant with King's baby - telling her to get an abortion - and even paid a hitman to "have her stomped".

Exactly how a promising young rugby league hopeful fell to such disturbing depths is still unclear, but those close to him say his mental health took a dark turn in recent years.

Sources close to King told The Daily Telegraphhe grew up the child of a single mum in a housing commission block.

It was there he bought bags of cement to make a weight set and began training to follow his dream of becoming a Penrith Panthers star and using the money to buy his mum a house.

The hard work almost paid off for King, who went on to become a winger in the Panthers' reserve grade.

However, after twisting his neck in a seemingly innocuous tackle, he said something "didn't feel quite right" in an interview with Men of League - a charity established to support injured footballers.

King moved in bodybuilding after a footy injury. Picture: Carole Graham
King moved in bodybuilding after a footy injury. Picture: Carole Graham

The twist had caused him to suffer a delayed stroke that brought his footy-playing dreams to end in 2009.

He was unable to talk, walk or even eat without assistance from his mother - the woman he'd dreamt of providing for.

"As a result of the stroke, Daniel ended up with no strength in the right side of his body and spent six weeks in rehabilitation," the Men of League profile read.

During his rehabilitation, King was referred to a body-building coach, later going on to compete in major tournaments.

Speaking to Men of League in 2015, Mr King said he was "so grateful" for the help of the charity in his journey to find body-building.

"I'd like to stay in the industry, even if not competing, I'm thinking about possibly going into judging," he said.

His social media pages back then were filled with inspirational posts and, by the start of this year, he'd branched out by launching his own clothing brand.

King’s Instagram posts started to take a dark turn. Picture: Instagram
King’s Instagram posts started to take a dark turn. Picture: Instagram

The first posts on the brand's Instagram page show him with large wads of cash, gold chains and a scantly-clad woman. In the captions he talked of "respect" and "loyalty".

"Never bite the hand that feeds you, but stay loyal and you'll never go hungry!" he wrote alongside one of the images.

However, just a week later the posts took a dark turn.

Less than two weeks after the brand launched, King posted a rant on the account about a traumatic relationship breakdown.

The post hinted at suicide amid his struggles with a bicep reconstruction.

"As they leave you smash ur head against the wall in hope the physical pain u cause will dull the pain inside," he wrote.

"There was one of two choices to be made. Write a little letter and feed yourself a bullet, or pull yourself together and make a promise that you'll come back bigger and better."

But King seemed optimistic in comments on the post - saying that "something good" was around the corner and he could "feel it".

Away from social media, King had proposed to his partner Natalie, who was also carrying his baby.

However, he claimed Natalie broke off their engagement when she discovered King was expecting a baby with Ms Taylor.

Stacey Taylor says King shot at her home while she and her family were inside.
Stacey Taylor says King shot at her home while she and her family were inside.

Ms Taylor said she had known King since primary school and the two had gone on a couple of dates.

However, the affair quickly turned sour after Ms Taylor told him she was pregant and King started threatening to kill himself in a bid to force her to get an abortion.

She said she called police when she was shown text messages earlier this year alleging he had hired a hitman to have both her and their unborn baby killed.

"The threats were saying that he actually hired a hit person to bash me and stab me in the stomach to make me lose my baby, so I wasn't pregnant anymore," she said.

"As soon I got the message, I was like, I'm not taking any of that lightly."

A third woman, Claire Day of Brisbane, has revealed she was also pregnant to King earlier this year, but decided not to go ahead with the pregnancy.

Claire Day says she is King’s former lover. Picture: Instagram
Claire Day says she is King’s former lover. Picture: Instagram

After three weeks of threats that Ms Taylor endured in April, she didn't hear a word from King in seven months.

It was during this period that posts on King's personal Instagram page became threatening.

In July he posted a picture of two handguns, with engravings that read: "Lord protect me from my friends. I can take care of my enemies."

In the caption below, he wrote: "The closest people around you, the ones you confided in the most are the biggest rats," he wrote. "The snakes in the grass always end up getting you. They may win the battle but i WILL win the war."

He added the hashtags "#seeusoon" and "makingthearrangements".

By Wednesday, he was saying his final goodbyes.

Before his rampage, King posted a farewell message alongside an image of slain rapper Tupac Shakur that read: "A COWARD DIES A THOUSAND DEATHS, A SOLDIER DIES BUT ONCE."

Daniel King’s final Instagram post.
Daniel King’s final Instagram post.

Last night, the 32-year-old posted a picture of him with a woman who he said he was "indebted to in more ways then u (sic) know".

In one of the posts, King wrote: "It was only a matter of time before I f**ked things up, not intentionally I promise but enough is enough.

"Love you to the moon and back. Good by (sic)".

At 8.45pm that night, Ms Taylor, who is seven months pregnant, was lying in bed with her children when she heard two loud bangs in quick succession.

She looked out her window and saw King at the bottom of her driveway, shooting towards the house on Quakers Rd.

After leaving Ms Taylor's home on Wednesday, police say King fired into St Marys police station about 9.15pm before driving to the Penrith station where he shot at officers outside.

Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy said they had "no choice" but to return fire. King died at the scene.

King was shot dead by police. Picture: Supplied
King was shot dead by police. Picture: Supplied

Officers involved in the shootout were shaken, but had also "reflected on their own families and themselves and how fortunate they were not to be killed".
"For police to be confronted and to stand up in a confrontation under fire, has shown extreme courage," Deputy Commissioner Loy told 2GB.

A male constable suffered pellet wounds to the back of the head and was taken to Westmead Hospital with non life-threatening injuries, police said. Several other officers suffered minor injuries that were not gunshot-related.

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault or family violence, call 1800 RESPECT on 1800 737 732. In an emergency, call triple-0

 

He posted this in July.
He posted this in July.