Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Taser used before police shooting

Adam Morehu
Adam Morehu

A taser was used by police before an officer fatally shot Adam Morehu in New Plymouth early on Saturday.

A post mortem examination on Morehu's body is now complete, and results have identified two fatal gun shot wounds to his torso, police said.

Three investigations are underway to try to establish the events leading up to Morehu, 33, being fatally shot by police at the weekend.

Morehu and alleged co-offender Kevin Ronald Bishell, 32, who has now been charged, allegedly tripped silent alarms at the Ngamotu Golf Club, off State Highway 3, New Plymouth, just after 4am Saturday morning.

Two male police officers arrived at the golf club to find shattered glass windows, and say they saw two offenders trying to flee the scene on a motorbike.

Police say Morehu became aggressive towards police and told officers he was going to kill them before firing a sawn-off rifle at the officers.

He was then shot by an officer.

"In order to prevent any further speculation I can confirm that a taser was deployed prior to Mr Morehu being shot by Police,'' Central District Commander Superintendent Russell Gibson said.

"The findings from the post mortem are important to the overall investigation. These results along with the scene examination and reconstruction of events will in time provide us with a full understanding of what took place that morning.''

The scene examination is continuing today at the golf course, and police are still speaking to witnesses to piece together the events which led up to the fatal shooting.

"It's vital we cover off every detail and speak to all of the witnesses involved.

"The three-part investigation is expected to take some time and in addition to the coronial and policy and processes investigations there is an inquiry underway by the Independent Police Conduct Authority which should reassure the public that this incident will be overseen objectively,'' Mr Gibson said.

"The investigations are an important part of determining that Police have acted appropriately and we are continuing to work closely with the Morehu family to keep them updated as the investigation progresses.''

Yesterday, the grieving Morehu family demanded answers from police and expect to meet with top brass early this week.

A statement from the family said the findings confirmed Morehu died as a result of two gun shot wounds.

"These initial findings create even more questions for the whanau to be answered,'' the family said.

"We are working with the police to ensure that the communications with the police remain open.''

The family was hopeful Morehu's body would be returned to them this evening.

Family from overseas are returning home to support the "devastated'' family struggling to understand why the labourer from New Plymouth was killed.

A tangi will likely be held at Owae Marae in Waitara - where Morehu's late mum Tania Bailey was farewelled just last month.

The grieving Morehu whanau say the loss of a "son, father, partner, nephew, mokopuna and friend; Adam Te Rata Charles Morehu as a result of a police shooting'' is devastating and hard to bear, so closely after the recent sudden loss of his mother Tania, who died on May 5 from a brain aneurism.

"We are trying very hard to stay strong as a whanau to support Adam's partner Kaly Gilbert and children Adam Junior and Amarlia, his brother Joshua and father Ed Morehu,'' a statement said.

"We do not understand yet the circumstances by which Adam has lost his life, how and why this happened.

"To that end we will be meeting with the police in the next couple of days to receive more information related to their ongoing investigation.''

Bishell appeared in New Plymouth District Court for less than two minutes this morning and entered no plea to two counts of committing burglary with a weapon, committing a crime with a firearm, using a firearm against a police officer and intentional damage.

Bishell, who had no supporters in court, pulled his collar high and covered his face with his hand.

He was remanded in custody to reappear on June 26.

Morehu was a childhood friend of Steven Wallace, who was shot dead by Senior Constable Keith Abbott in Waitara in 2000.


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