Off-duty officer hit in head for helping Gympie teen

GYMPIE police are calling for help to track down a man who bashed an off-duty police officer in the head in Mary St on Monday before stealing his mobile phone.

The officer was calling for back-up after he stepped in to help an innocent bystander who was being pushed around by two men outside the King Kong Sales store just before midday.

Gympie police officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Graeme Reeves yesterday appealed for any witnesses, or anyone who might know the whereabouts of the man, to help police with their investigations.

He was still at large last night.

"Police have been working hard to make the main street as safe and pleasant environment as possible," Snr Sgt Reeves said yesterday.

"We are appealing to store owners and the public to come forward with any information into this incident they feel might be able to help us," he said.

The trouble started about 11am when a teenager and his mother were walking down Mary St, and the teen was criticised for the way he was wearing his clothes.

"The victim requested for the opinions to be kept to themselves and it was at this point when the unknown male removed his shirt and requested a fight," Snr Sgt Reeves said.

When the "unknown male" then put his hand on the teen's chest, the teen pushed him away.

A second man then came from behind and grabbed the teen, but members of the public jumped in to help him, including an off-duty police officer.

As the officer was trying to separate the two parties, one of the men started yelling abuse at him.

When the officer tried to call police on his mobile phone, one of the men hit him in the face, making him drop the phone.

The man then grabbed the phone and ran up Mary St towards Nash St.

"There were numerous witnesses to the incident, including store owners and members of the public" Snr Sgt Reeves said.

The off-duty officer received minor injuries to his face.

One man, aged 20, was later charged with committing a public nuisance.

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