NT police officer Zachary Rolfe was a 'decorated cop' before he was charged ...

sonos sonos One (Gen 2) - Voice Controlled Smart Speaker with Amazon Alexa Built-in - Black read more

The Northern Territory police officer charged with murdering an Aboriginal teenager was a 'well-respected' cop who had been lauded for his bravery, it has been revealed. 

Zachary Rolfe, 28, is accused of fatally shooting 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker in his home in the tiny desert town of Yuendumu, 300km north-west of Alice Springs, on Saturday night. 

The young officer, who joined the police force in 2016, has been suspended with pay and is expected to plead not guilty.    

Mr Walker died two hours after he was allegedly shot twice during an altercation with police, although the events leading up to his death are unclear.

In an interview with NT News, colleagues of Rolfe described the situation as the force's 'worst nightmare'.

Scroll down for video 

Northern Territory cop Zachary Rolfe, 28, is accused of fatally shooting 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker during a botched arrest on Saturday. Prior to being charged with murder, he was a decorated police officer who had been lauded for saving the lives of two people

Northern Territory cop Zachary Rolfe, 28, is accused of fatally shooting 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker during a botched arrest on Saturday. Prior to being charged with murder, he was a decorated police officer who had been lauded for saving the lives of two people 

Kumanjayi Walker (pictured) was shot dead in his home in Yuendumu, Northern Territory. He was taken to a police station but died two hours after he was shot

Kumanjayi Walker (pictured) was shot dead in his home in Yuendumu, Northern Territory. He was taken to a police station but died two hours after he was shot

Rallies have been held in Alice Springs, Darwin, Melbourne and Adelaide

Rallies have been held in Alice Springs, Darwin, Melbourne and Adelaide

In fact, prior to being charged, Rolfe was highly respected among the force and had been recognised for his heroic efforts early into his career.  

One of his most notable achievements in the line of duty was rescuing two tourists from Hong Kong who were swept away in floodwaters in Alice Springs, days after he graduated from police college. 

He was later awarded with the National Bravery Medal and the Royal Human Society's Clarke Medal for his actions.  

Hong Kong also presented him with a Bronze Medal for Bravery, marking the first time the honour had been given to a foreigner. 

And prior to receiving accolades in the police force, Rolfe, the son of well-known Canberra business identities and philanthropists Robert and Debbie Rolfe, had attended Canberra Grammar school where he reportedly excelled in his studies. 

Richard Rolfe is the director of the Audi Centre in Canberra, a position he has held since 2007.

Rolfe refused to answer questions from reporters on Thursday after he was seen arriving at Adelaide airport

Rolfe refused to answer questions from reporters on Thursday after he was seen arriving at Adelaide airport

It is understood he is meant to plead not guilty

It is understood he is meant to plead not guilty 

Zachary also served in the Army before joining the police in 2016. 

Rolfe refused to answer questions from reporters on Thursday after he was seen  arriving at Adelaide airport.  

The case has sparked furore and protests among the Aboriginal community, which has long accused police officers of using excessive and unnecessary force with indigenous people. 

Following Walker's death, Rolfe was reported to have received death threats and is now believed to be laying low.  

The incident happened after two police officers showed up at Mr Walker's house to arrest him for alleged breaches of his suspended sentence.

With no medics in the town, Mr Walker was taken to a police station but died two hours after he was shot.

In a statement on Thursday, the Northern Territory Police Association (NTPA) said Rolfe would fight the murder charge.  

'Whilst we acknowledge the tragic circumstances of the event, the member has made it clear that he will plead not guilty and will vigorously contest the charge,' the statement said.

'He, like all, has the presumption of innocence in his favour.

Zachary Rolfe served in the Army before joining the police in 2016 and won The Clarke Medal (he is pictured collecting his medal with the Governor-General) of bravery for rescuing a woman from a flood waters in Alice Springs in December that year

Zachary Rolfe served in the Army before joining the police in 2016 and won The Clarke Medal (he is pictured collecting his medal with the Governor-General) of bravery for rescuing a woman from a flood waters in Alice Springs in December that year

The officer (centre) served in the Army before joining the police in 2016

The officer (centre) served in the Army before joining

read more from dailymail.....

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

NEXT Reuters World News Summary