It was 30 years ago on a sleepy Monday morning when shots rang out at the Dickson pool, creating the catalyst for two hours of terror in the centre of Canberra. On November 29 1993, a man later identified as Felipe Ruizdiaz, took a sawn-off shotgun and drove his white Toyota utility to the pool, with LPG bottles and jerrycans of petrol in the trayback wired to explode. Ruizdiaz was incensed over a relationship break-up and was determined to exact revenge over pool manager Geoff McGibbon. But his murderous intent failed, with Mr McGibbon, a former serviceman, injured after pushing the shotgun barrel aside just in time, causing the discharge to narrowly miss its target. Thwarted in that attempt, around 7.30am Ruizdiaz then jumped back in the ute and raced down Northbourne Avenue, his next target being the Jolimont Centre where he thought his estranged partner was at work. Witnesses reported seeing the Toyota, on fire, smashing through the front windows of the Jolimont Centre, with Ruizdiaz jumping from the vehicle and waving his firearm. The six-storey Northbourne Avenue premises was the broadcasting centre for two radio stations, FM104.7 and 2CA. The first police at the scene described the chaos as people fled the building, and the boom of shotgun blasts from inside. Police with revolvers drawn protected firefighters as they extended a ladder up the side of the building to one of the radio station's exterior windows and helped people down from the upper floors as shattered glass rained down from above. One police officer, Sergeant Brian McDonald, who had doubled back to the city centre when first responding to shots fired at the Dickson pool, had attempted to enter the rear of the building but was fired on by the gunman and had to duck for cover. Meanwhile, Ruizdiaz was still inside the building somewhere and it fell to the ACT's newly formed, part-time, four-member Specialist Operations Team, to locate him. Smoke was belching from the building and the tactical team had to borrow breathing gear from the firefighters to get inside and seek out the gunman. A young constable at the time, Mark Usback had completed his SOT training just three days before this drama unfolded. Darren Rath was the sergeant in charge of the team. "When I arrived at City Station, another of the blokes on my training team, Peter 'Cookie' Davis, told me to grab my gear because something was on at the Jolimont Centre," the former constable, now Sergeant Usback said. "I will never forget that first entry into the building. "It was just a total sensory overload. There were the fire alarms going off and smoke everywhere. "I couldn't see my hand in front of my face because the smoke was so thick." Firefighters on the perimeter were pouring water onto the blazing building, adding to the hazardous conditions. Unable to hear their radio communication, the officers used hand signals to direct each other. They began a systematic search of the floors, going in and out to grab fresh tanks of oxygen each time. "I was thinking that I was literally going to bump into the offender, and while I was confident in my skills, it was a different story when I couldn't see him," Sergeant Usback said. As other police joined them, the team searched the multi-storey building for an hour, finally locating Ruizdiaz burned and dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The so-called Jolimont Siege was a watershed moment for Canberra's police - an "active armed offender" situation which tested the territory's emergency agencies to the limit. Over $2 million in damage was caused to the building but no members of the public were harmed.