Gun shop shooter terrified about family's safety

By Staff Reporters

The machete-wielding man who burst into a gunshop repeatedly screamed, "give me the guns or I'll kill you", seconds before he was shot in the stomach by the terrified gun dealer, the family of the dealer said yesterday.

As public support grew for Auckland father-of-two Greg Carvell, 33, his family yesterday revealed more alleged details of the incident and said Carvell was now terrified for the safety of his wife and two young daughters.

According to Carvell's father and shop co-owner, Ray Carvell, his son watched from behind the counter of his Penrose gunshop as 29-year-old Ricky Beckham walked past the shop windows about 10am on Thursday.

He then burst in, pulling a machete from his bag and cornering Carvell and co-worker Bruce Motley into the side staff area, Ray Carvell told the Herald on Sunday yesterday.

"He was threatening them with their lives. He said: 'Give me the guns or I'll kill you.' He kept repeating it... It happened in a matter of seconds. What would you do?" said Carvell snr of his son's actions.

Greg Carvell then did "the only thing he could do", Carvell snr said: he shot Beckham in the stomach at close range with a handgun.

Beckham dropped the machete and staggered towards the door before he fell, and Carvell ran to give him first aid. Motley rang emergency services.

Carvell snr, who was not in the shop when the incident happened, said staff now believed they had seen Beckham in the shop before, perhaps "casing out the joint".

The ordeal has left Greg Carvell so worried for his family's safety that he had moved his 9-month-old daughter into his room to keep her close by, said Carvell snr.

Auckland University senior law lecturer Scott Optican said Beckham's alleged comments before the shooting bolstered Carvell's claim of self-defence. He said the words could be used in evidence if the defence was required. "The guy [allegedly] said 'I am going to kill'. If that is true, it makes his legitimate claim of self-defence even stronger. Why should he not take him at his word? As it is, I think he's got a very strong case... it looks like a classic paradigm case of self-defence."

Yesterday, a visibly upset Greg Carvell said he did not want to comment until police had decided what action, if any, to take. He spent the day reassuring his wife and children as he waited to find out if police would charge him over the shooting.

Bruce Motley, the store's manager, said he went straight to his youngest daughter's home after the incident and had "a couple of very stiff drinks".

He went back to work the next day but was still so traumatised he only made it through a few hours.

He would not go over the attack in detail but said Beckham "definitely wasn't after money".

The Carvell family is also angry at the police's handling of the incident, which they say has left them "feeling more like suspects than victims".

Detective Senior Sergeant Simon Scott said yesterday police had not yet spoken to Beckham, who last night remained under police guard in Auckland Hospital and was reported to be in a stable condition and able to talk.

"We're waiting for advice from the medical experts as to when we can do that," he said. "Over the next few days we should be able to speak to him and get his side of the story."

Scott said inquiries were continuing this weekend into the incident, and a decision on whether any charges would be laid was not expected until this week.

Speculation has centred on how Carvell was able to have access to a loaded handgun in such a short period of time. But Carvell snr said they had nothing to hide.

"The gun was not loaded in the technical sense [before Beckham entered the shop]. I'm not telling you where it was, but it was not on the desk loaded... A firearm can be loaded very quickly."

Carvell snr, a well-known gun lobbyist, also said he thought the rules around about people not having loaded guns to protect themselves were "crap" in any case.

"Why shouldn't everyone be able to arm themselves? The police don't help you any more."

Last night, Paul McIntyre, the farmer who shot and wounded robber Sam Hati, who had attempted to steal his farm bike, spoke out in Carvell's defence. McIntyre was charged with shooting and injuring Hati with reckless disregard for the safety of others following the incident in October 2002.

He was also charged with discharging a shotgun without reasonable cause in a manner likely to endanger the safety of others.

McIntyre endured a three-year, $70,000 trial but was ultimately found not guilty.

"I don't think they'll ever get a jury to convict him," he said last night.

"The guy who did the shooting has probably saved a few hundred lives. If that idiot had got hold of a few hundred guns, you don't know who would have been shot.

"You've got the right to defend yourself and others, and that's always in the back of your mind.

"You don't know until you're actually faced with a set of circumstances.

"The criminals think they've got more rights than law abiding actors, I feel sorry for the guy who shot him. I've got no pity for the idiot who went into a gun shop with a machete."

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