Home invasion arrest: 'My finger was on the trigger'

By Samantha McPherson of The Star

Constable Darren Pavelka, Police dog Brock and his handler Senior Constable Lyal Bayliss. Photo / Star
Constable Darren Pavelka, Police dog Brock and his handler Senior Constable Lyal Bayliss. Photo / Star

Armed policeman Darrin Pavelka was just a reaction away from shooting a man he had his handgun trained on early today.

Two men, both wearing balaclavas, had forced their way into a Christchurch home and demanded money from Sarah Walker who had been asleep in the house with her two children.

A single shot was fired inside the house before Ms Walker escaped and called for help.

Constable Pavelka, Senior Constable Lyal Bayliss and police dog Brock apprehended an allegedly armed man on a property about 300 metres from the Redwood home.

"We jumped over the fence and saw the offender behind a hedge with a single barrel loaded shotgun pointing straight at us,'' Constable Pavelka said.

Brock was released and latched onto to the offender's leg.

"I pointed my gun at him the whole time while Lyal bought him down to the ground. It happened so fast; could've been a matter of seconds.

"My finger was on the trigger the whole time.

"If it meant I had to pull the trigger, I would have, to save mine and my partner's life.''

The loaded shotgun became pinned underneath the man as Senior Constable Bayliss wrestled him to the ground.

The offender refused to let go of the gun as Senior Constable Bayliss continued to grapple with him.

An opportunity arose for Constable Pavelka to grab one of the man's arms and pin it behind his back to handcuff him.

The trio continued to struggle until the officers pulled the man's right arm back and secured him with handcuffs.

Constable Pavelka, who has been in the police for two years, said he had never been in a situation where a gun was pointed at him.

"I wasn't scared, it was just the adrenalin, which is still pumping. It wasn't until afterwards you think about the what ifs. I was just doing my job. Brock was brilliant. If it wasn't for him giving us that small chance to subdue the offender then it could've been a different ending.

"My partner was really concerned, as they do. They worry. But when you put on the uniform it comes with the job. I'm just glad we went home safe.''

Senior Constable Bayliss said it was a team effort.

"Darrin was the cover man. He was in the worst position of all. He was the one to make that fatal decision whether the offender was going to live or die. He had the gun. The focus is on the dog helping us to relinquish the weapon.

"We just had to find this guy and get him off the street. The potential for him to have got away was there. I didn't particularly want to get shot today.

"I was wound up and angry. I had been in the job 14 years and it was the first time that I was in a position like that. We got the best possible outcome,'' he said.

Senior Constable Bayliss said he'd promised Brock an ice-cream for his efforts.
James Carpenter, a 30-year-old labourer from Aranui, appeared in Christchurch District Court this morning.

His lawyer Shannon-Leigh Litt asked for Carpenter to be remanded without plea in custody for a fortnight.

Carpenter is due back in court on October 11 on charges of robbing a woman of cellphone, wallet and keys, and three firearms charges.

Police said they were seeking two other offenders, one of whom was believed to have been waiting in a vehicle nearby.

- CHRISTCHURCH STAR

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