A Sydney cop pointed his gun at a colleague and threatened to shoot him inside a busy police station – because he threatened to ruin the ending of Top Gun 2: Maverick.
Constable Dominic Gaynor appeared in Sydney Downing Centre Court on Thursday after pleading guilty to carrying a firearm in a manner likely to endanger the safety of another person.
His victim, Morgan Royston, told the court he was so traumatised by the incident that he had given up on his dream of working as a police officer and was now a car salesman.
The court documents reveal he was working at Day St Police Station on the evening of May 29 when two other police officers started a conversation about the film Top Gun 2: Maverick.
Probationary constable Royston, who had seen the film the previous night, told Gaynor he would ruin the ending for him.
“Don’t spoil the movie, c***,” Gaynor replied while laughing.
“I’ll shoot you.”
A third officer intervened and chastised him: “Gaynor, don’t say that, I’m on the phone.”
The constable ignored her warning, took his police-issued Glock firearm out of its holster, and pointed it at his colleague.
He held the gun stationary for five seconds so Mr Royston could see the front and rear sights of the gun.
Gaynor was laughing as he brandished the gun with his finger on the receiver instead of the trigger.
On Thursday, Mr Royston broke down in tears as he described the “overwhelming shock and fear” he felt when he found himself staring “down the barrel” of a loaded police pistol.
He said being threatened by a senior officer at his place of work made him depressed, anxious, and hypervigilant.
Mr Royston told the court he has been plagued by vivid nightmares of being shot and killed since the incident.
The junior officer explained he was torn between reporting the incident and “the desire not to break the police brotherhood by dobbing on a colleague”.
After wanting to be a police officer for a long time, Mr Royston said he no longer felt safe around police.
“I’ve completely lost the trust I had and my previous admiration for the NSW Police Force,” he said while wiping away tears.
“When I see a police officer now, I feel compelled to watch them and check their hand is not on their firearm.”
The court heard Mr Royston was forced to continue working in the same police station as Gaynor, who has not explained or apologised for his actions.
“It frustrates, saddens, and angers me that I have suffered so much,” the junior officer said.
Gaynor’s lawyer Chris Micali said his client was trying to be funny when he made a “grievous error” which could have had serious consequences.
“There was no malicious intent to scare or injure,” he said.
“This is a case where skylarking and tomfoolery in an employment context has gone awry.”
Gaynor was a “fantastic member of the police force” who was “well regarded” by his peers and had “learnt his lesson”, his lawyer argued.
The court heard he would likely lose his job if convicted of the crime.
Crown prosecutor Alison Graylin said there was no explanation for Gaynor’s actions and no guarantee that “he would not suffer such a serious lapse of judgement again”.
“The community places great trust in armed police officers,” she said.
“The victim was as entitled to that trust as any member of the lay community.”
Magistrate Michael Maher noted there was a “power imbalance” between Gaynor and the junior officer, who had looked to him for guidance.
He said police officers have an “significant and unrelenting degree of responsibility” when they carry weapons in the execution of their duty, which Gaynor flouted by disregarding the safety of his fellow officer.
“This conduct was poor and at the very least demonstrated reckless judgement,” the magistrate said.
He did not accept that pointing the gun at Mr Royston was a joke and found there was little evidence the constable had acknowledged the impact of his actions on the victim.
Magistrate Maher convicted Gaynor and sentenced him to a two-year community corrections order in addition to completing 100 hours of community service.
Gaynor kept his head down and did not comment as he fled the courthouse after learning his fate.
A NSW Police spokesperson confirmed Gaynor remained suspended with pay.
Originally published as Cop sentenced for pointing gun at colleague over Top Gun spoilers