Online tributes flow for fatal shooting victim

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Online tributes are flowing for a Gisborne man affectionately known as Din, who was shot in the early hours of yesterday morning and died in hospital last night.

Douglas Witeri, 39, was shot and fatally injured in his home about 2.40am, police said.

Friends described him on Facebook as a talented rugby player, and "one of the good guys'', who would be sadly missed.

A 42-year-old Gisborne man was arrested and appeared in Gisborne District Court this morning charged with assault.

He was remanded in custody until his next appearance on Thursday, where Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Scott said "a more appropriate charge will be laid''.

Detectives and forensic scientists were continuing the scene examination today at a Kowhai St house in the suburb of Elgin where yesterday's shooting happened.

A post mortem examination would be conducted today in Wellington to determine the cause of death, police said.

Police upgraded their investigation to a homicide inquiry following Mr Witeri's death.

Mr Scott said the alleged offender made demands when he arrived at Mr Witeri's home before the shooting.

"We believe this man is known to the two people who were at the address.''

The alleged gunman was arrested ``without incident'' by members of the police armed offenders squad at another local address between one and two hours after the shooting.

"We're looking at the scene and we'll continue to examine that in conjunction with the ESR forensic scientists and we're hoping to speak to anybody who may have information,'' Mr Scott said.

A vehicle believed to be connected to the incident was also being examined, however the firearm used in the shooting had not yet been found.

Police have urged anyone with information about the firearm or the shooting to contact Gisborne police or the Crimestoppers line, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Police Iwi Liaison and Victim Support staff were supporting the man's family, police said.

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Online tributes:

* Stephen Mataiti: "We all knew our bro Douglas Din Witeri was a fighter and today our bro fought his last fight.''

* Reuben Kaa: "RIP Din what a sad loss I remember you very well very talented rugby player I had the privilege of coaching you in the Horouta under 21s back in the 90s a very sad loss RIP my bro.''

* Susanna Campbell: "R.i.p uncle din din u wil b sadly missed from all of us u touched so many people its so sad to hear u hv gone so soon an suddenly an u were still young.''

* Nadia Taare: "Rip uncl din...stil hard to accept. U will b truely missed. All my love to the whanau and Isra during this time.''

* Reimana-Laman Davies: RIP to the bro Din (Douglas Witeri) taken to early, definitely one of the good guys!!

- APNZ

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