Parking warden shot with BB gun

Michael Nicholls was shot while at work.
Michael Nicholls was shot while at work.

A Timaru parking officer who was shot with a BB gun says he wants more
respect for his profession.

The attack on Michael Nicholls has prompted him to speak out.

Mr Nicholls was not injured but said shock set in that night.

He had been marking tyres along Stafford St at 3.45pm on March 1 when he
was told by two teens sitting on the steps of the old BNZ building to
stop what he was doing.

Mr Nicholls ignored their comments. As he returned up the street Mr
Nicholls reminded the boys that skateboards were not to be used on the
footpath of the main street.

One of the boys replied, saying they were not skating.

"I started to cross the crossing. . .which was when I noticed a wee
ping in my shoulder and I turned around," Mr Nicholls said.

"At that point I saw [one of the boys] waving the gun at me in his hand
saying 'I'm going to shoot you, I'm going to shoot you'.

"I yelled back 'are you trying to shoot me?' and then at that point he
took the hand gun he had and put it in his right›hand pocket, and they
both got on their skateboards and took off."

Mr Nicholls reported the incident to police.

Senior Sergeant Mark Offen, of Timaru, said a 17›year›old Timaru youth
was given a pre› charge warning for presenting an object like a firearm
and behaving threateningly.

A16›year›old Temuka youth was referred to youth aid in relation to the
incident.

"We want people to know out there we are just an everyday› Joe, a
family man, a father, grandfather, whatever. We are only doing our
job," Mr Nicholls said.

He said his job involved more than just issuing tickets.

On any given day, he was an ambassador for Timaru, providing people with
information and letting visitors know how to get from A to B.

He said while the majority of the public were pleasant, he was abused
"from time to time".

Timaru District Council environmental services manager Paul Cooper said,
like everyone, the town's parking officers deserved respect.

"I think my staff do a fantastic job for the community.

"I think on occasion there's the odd person out there that possibly
doesn't realise what they are doing and subject my staff to verbal abuse
and I don't think that's necessary.

"A proper way to deal with an issue is to contact the manager of the
team or write in [to the TDC]."

- Otago Daily Times

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