Paeroa businessman Jordan Voudouris struggled his way to a gate at the rear of his business after he suffered a gunshot wound that proved fatal.
Not long after, a neighbour found his lifeless body slumped in a pool of blood, his arm stuck in the gate.
Police said yesterday that Mr Voudouris had been shot but they would not reveal what kind of weapon they believe was used or where he was injured in the early hours of June 18.
District field crime supervisor Detective Senior Sergeant Mike Whitehead said it appeared that Mr Voudouris was shot behind his Mykonos Pizza and Pasta store between 1.30am and 4.30am.
Mr Voudouris had a bedroom on the premises and it was not unusual for him to be up in the early hours of the morning, Mr Whitehead said.
After he was shot, he made his way to a gate at the entrance to the serviceway, about 20m away.
"It was possible he was coming for help, it's possible he was chasing his attacker ...
[or] running from his attacker," said Mr Whitehead.
A neighbour reported hearing "raised voices" in the vicinity. There was also a report of a gunshot being heard.
But Mr Whitehead could not confirm if this was a robbery gone wrong. As far as police knew, nothing was taken from Mr Voudouris' store or from him personally, he said.
Mr Voudouris' former brother-in-law Mike Burke yesterday told the Weekend Herald how the man's three children were trying to get on with their lives.
"They're coping the best they can, going back to school and trying to get on with things but obviously they're wanting to know what has happened to their father.
"It's still hard for them, they're wanting answers to this tragedy."
Mr Voudouris was three days short of his 56th birthday when he was killed.
A local business owner and former friend who asked to remain anonymous said it was frustrating for the community "and probably the police too" that they were still waiting for a breakthrough.
"We are a tight-knit community but I am certain that someone around here knows something," she said.
"We all just want justice for Jordan, everyone knows he was a good, caring man, which is why this doesn't make any sense."
A "Justice for Jordan" Facebook page still receives regular updates and hits.
Anton Barbarich said the "Jordan Voudouris Memorial Steeplechase" was likely to happen at the Paeroa Horse Racing Course later this month or at a September meeting.
Mr Whitehead said police could usually establish if there was a darker side to a person's life despite it being common for people to speak well of them after they had died.
But in this case everything was "overwhelmingly positive".
The inquiry team of 30 had the impression of a decent and kind-hearted man.
"In a way this then makes it more difficult for investigators, here we have a decent man with no apparent reason why anyone would harm him, let alone shoot him," Mr Whitehead said.
"I believe the key to this case still lies in Paeroa, be that someone who saw or heard something, perhaps not realising the significance, and hasn't told police or that someone has been told something about what happened and is keeping quiet.
"If that person is you, we ask you to consider contacting us."