Man who died in shootout did not commit suicide - police

Caleb Dean Henry
Caleb Dean Henry

Police have confirmed the death of former soldier Caleb Dean Henry, 20, who died after an exchange of shots with officers on Auckland's North Shore yesterday, was not a suicide.

Henry died after a shootout on the northern motorway just after 2am yesterday.

Police had pursued the 20-year-old from the Kaimai Range, Bay of Plenty, which was more than 360km from where Henry stopped driving on the motorway.

In a statement released this afternoon, police said they had concluded their scene examination of the area near where the gunfire exchange took place, close to Sunset Road.

A separate police investigation would "include an examination of police policy, practice and procedures, in addition to the ongoing homicide investigation and inquiries in the Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Waikato.''

Results of these investigations were expected to take several weeks.

Henry's body has been released to his family. He will be buried in a private ceremony later this week, police said.

"Police officers involved in yesterday's exchange of shots remain on duty and are receiving appropriate support as required.''

Opotiki couple Alan and Anne Looney, who were allegedly attacked by Henry at their home on Sunday evening, described the incident as traumatic.

The couple, aged 66 and 63, had their hands slashed and were tied up before their attacker fled in their Ford Ranger with their rifle and a credit card.

"We feel really traumatised by what has happened. We are very simple people leading a very simple life and find it hard to comprehend that something like this could happen to us,'' they said in a statement.

It was difficult to imagine ever feeling safe again, Mr and Mrs Looney said.

They also acknowledged Henry's family, and thanked the community for their support.

"We expect that his family are going through a trauma of their own.

"Everyone has been fantastic and the support from the community has been overwhelming. The phone has apparently been ringing off the hook with people wishing us well,'' the couple said.

- APNZ

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