A TAMWORTH highway patrol officer who was killed after pulling over a man known to police was "a true officer of the law" and "very courageous", a coroner said yesterday.
Michael Allan Jacobs is serving a mandatory life sentence for murdering Senior Constable David Rixon in March 2012.
Deputy New South Wales Coroner Hugh Dillon told an inquest into the killing the officer died trying to protect the community "from a very violent and desperate man".
The inquest found Senior Constable Rixon was approaching Jacobs' car to conduct a breath test when Jacobs pulled out a gun without warning and shot the officer from less than four metres.
Sen Const Rixon fired four shots in return and managed to handcuff Jacobs' left wrist before succumbing to the bullet wound to his heart.
Mr Dillon said the policeman showed "courageous heroism" in handcuffing his killer.
He said Jacobs already had police alerts attached to his name for being a known heroin user and threatening to shoot at police in 1997.
He said Sen Const Rixon acted correctly.
The inquest was delayed so Jacobs would have time to appeal his sentence but that period lapsed.