On the night of October 1, 1999, Denise Watt finished her shift as a nurse at the then-Mount Alvernia Mercy Hospital about 10pm and dropped by the shop to pick up some bits and pieces before heading home.
It was an ordinary night until she got through the door, when her three teenage daughters came "flying out", telling her something was wrong because "Mr Barling's on the phone".
Mr Barling was Bendigo hospital surgeon Dr Andrew Barling, and something was indeed very wrong - her husband, Inspector Ulf Kaminski, had been shot during a siege at Kangaroo Flat.
Mrs Watt recalls the surgeon telling her Ulf had been shot and while his injuries were not life-threatening, he did need surgery. "He said, 'Don't panic, but you'd better come in'," she said.
Mrs Watt was given a lift to the hospital and she remembers it being "mayhem" when she arrived.
A shooting of a police officer in Bendigo was unusual in itself, but Inspector Kaminski was not the only police officer who had been fired upon that night.
His three colleagues - Sergeant Peter Lukaitis, Detective Senior Constable Craig Miller and Senior Constable Peter Eames - had also been shot, the latter two left with life-threatening injuries.
They had all been at the scene of a siege in Kangaroo Flat, where John Wason opened fire on the police he refused to talk to after assaulting his father.
Mrs Watt remembers taking her husband's watch before he went into surgery, and laughs as she recalls her husband hoping no one would notice his pink singlet.
Inspector Kaminski stayed in hospital for about a week and a half, and had to return for further surgeries.
Mrs Watt said the incident left him with post-traumatic stress and he required counselling, but the lifelong police officer returned to work.
"He loved it, loved his work," she said, explaining that Inspector Kaminski enjoyed helping people and the camaraderie he enjoyed with his colleagues.
"He was a very strong person," Mrs Watt said.
The shooting left an indelible mark on the rest of the family, too.
Mrs Watt was mostly working at Heathcote hospital but struggled to get in the car to drive out there after the siege, so shifted her work back to Mount Alvernia (now St John of God).
The couple's daughters, then aged 17, 16 and 14, also felt the impact of the night they could have lost their father. "Thinking back on it, it did affect their lives," Mrs Watt said.
But she considers it lucky that her husband and the other officers were not killed that night.
She said Inspector Kaminski was holding a clipboard when he was shot and the bullet hit his hand, redirecting the bullet.
"I think the clipboard saved his life," Mrs Watt said.
Her husband was not even meant to be working that night.
He was at home when he was called in by Chief Superintendent David Mansell to take command after the shooting began.
Mrs Watt said Inspector Kaminski thought he would be OK where he was standing, but then he was hit.
"I still get the heebies when I think about it," she said.
The couple and their daughters had been in Bendigo about seven years, having relocated after about five years in Kyneton and before that, time in Melbourne.
They owned a property at Sedgwick and Mrs Watt said Ulf liked to tend the lawns on his ride-on mower and play bowls to relax.
He also had a big shed he liked to tinker in, which she said helped him a lot after the siege.
But three years later, he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Like the shooting, the cancer could not keep him away from his work and he returned after his first lot of surgery.
"He was determined to get back to work, and he did," Mrs Watt said, adding he had a "pretty strong will, good work ethic".
But tragically, Inspector Kaminski died in 2003 at the age of 52, 14 months after his diagnosis.
Read more: Siege hero saluted
Mrs Watt said she still thought about the siege at this time of year.
The family was lucky to have "three more good years" with him after the night that could have proved deadly.
And Mrs Watt still holds a pragmatic attitude towards the events that unfolded 20 years ago.
"That was his job. This chap went berserk," she said.
"But that's what happens, [police officers] put their life on the line."
What happened the night of October 1, 1999
What started as a report of a heart attack at a Kangaroo Flat home quickly descended into a life-or-death confrontation with a gunman on the evening of October 1, 1999.
The 19-hour siege that unfolded left four police officers wounded by gun shots - two with life-threatening injuries - in what was the single largest shooting of officers in Victoria.
Not long before 8pm on that grim night, paramedics were called to a High Street address where 34-year-old John Wason had reported his father had had a heart attack.
When paramedics arrived Wason was aggressive and it became clear his father was injured, so police were called.
Paramedics took the father to hospital while Wason went back inside the building. Police attended after 8pm, but Wason would not let them in.
Senior Constable Peter Eames was called to the scene because of his training in negotiation.
In 2014, he recalled Wason came out of the house for a short time and was "very aggressive" towards police.
Eames said there was no information at that time that Wason had a firearm.
But at 9.35pm, a crack rang out and the police officer fell to the ground.
He had been shot in the chest, the bullet piercing his right lung. He even saw smoke rising from his chest.
''My mind was trying to process what had happened - I was thinking I'd been shot in the chest and that's not good," he told the Bendigo Advertiser in 2014.
''I thought this could be the end.''
Wason shot again, this time hitting Eames in the right thigh.
Eames' colleagues - who had taken shelter behind a small brick wall - put themselves in the line of fire to drag their wounded workmate around a corner.
But less than 10 minutes later, one of them was to be seriously injured by the gunman.
Detective Senior Constable Craig Miller ran across the road to try stop the traffic passing the house.
He sought refuge behind a large gum tree across the road, 87 metres from the front porch of Wason's house, intending to run further south to stop the traffic further away from the scene.
But as Miller leaned out from behind the tree, Wason took aim and fired.
The bullet ripped into the right side of Miller's chest.
He dropped to the ground and managed to roll into a ditch.
A nurse in a nearby house, Mary-Ann Beckmans, ran to Miller's aid and stayed with him while another resident, Harold Stirton, came out and blanketed him with a coat.
Ms Beckmans' father, Hendrikus, also bravely reached other police officers to tell them of Miller's condition.
They were credited with saving Miller's life.
At 10.05pm Inspector Ulf Kaminski and Sergeant Peter Lukaitis were discussing their options when the inspector dropped to the ground.
He had been shot in the stomach.
As Lukaitis tried to move Kaminski to cover, Wason fired again, hitting the sergeant in the right foot.
Lukaitis made it to a brick wall, but realising Kaminski could not get there himself, he again put himself in sight of the shooter.
He determined Wason's firearm was likely a .22 and his protective vest would be able to withstand a shot, so he went back out and shielded Kaminski as he sought shelter.
Lukaitis got Kaminski behind a small tree, then a concrete bus shelter where paramedics were able to take over.
Despite his own injury, Lukaitis remained to guard the area, fearful Wason would come.
A few days after the siege, Lukaitis told the Bendigo Advertiser he had no doubt Wason was aiming to kill police officers, noting he did not take shots at paramedics or civilians.
Eames lay waiting for help for more than an hour, coughing up blood, until Chief Superintendent Dave Mansell pulled over an old station wagon and had the driver take the seriously injured officer to hospital.
Meanwhile, Miller was attended by Senior Constables Gary Harrison and Michala Maskell, who stayed with him until they could get him into an armoured vehicle to take him to the ambulances.
The siege continued through the night, the usual silence broken by the buzzing of the police helicopter above and intermittent sirens as officers tried to flush Wason out.
The following day, tear gas was fired into the house and gun shots were heard.
Special Operations Group officers later entered the house and at 3.45pm, police declared the siege was over.
Wason had taken his own life.
All four injured officers survived their wounds, although it meant weeks of recovery, multiple surgeries and rehabilitation.
The bullet that hit Miller lodged in his spine, narrowly avoiding an artery and his spinal cord.
Wason's father was critically injured in the assault by his son and hospitalised in The Alfred's intensive care unit.
The emotional effects of the night also lingered for those involved.
Fifteen years later, Eames told the Bendigo Advertiser he often thought of that night at this time of year, while Miller opened up about post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by the event.
Lukaitis said he held no animosity towards Wason, seeing his actions as those of a person not in his right mind.
In 2003, Lukaitis, Miller, Sergeant Tony Commadeur - who helped rescue Eames - school teacher Mr Stirton, Mr Beckmans and Ms Beckmans received Australian Bravery Awards.
Lukaitis had already received Victoria Police's highest honour for bravery, the Valour Award.
Harrison, Maskell and Senior Constable Frank Reid, who also helped save Eames, received commendations for their courage.
In 2007, Kaminski - who died from a brain tumour in 2003 - was posthumously awarded the Victoria Police Star at the nomination of Eames.
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