Policeman tells harrowing tale of Porirua siege

By Solbin Kang

The policeman who jumped out of a second-storey window to escape a gunman during the Porirua seige has spoken about how he feared for his life.

Sergeant Jonathan Westrupp had no recollection of diving out of a Kokiri Cres house, as the fall left him unconscious on the ground.

In April, Mr Westrupp was at a house in Kokiri Cres looking for Pita Tekira, 29, who had breached his electronic bail conditions.

Police dog Gazza with handler Josh Robertson. Photo via Facebook/NZ Police
Police dog Gazza with handler Josh Robertson. Photo via Facebook/NZ Police

The team of six, including dog handler constable Joshua Robertson and his dog Gazza, entered the house where screams were heard from a bedroom upstairs.

"Josh and Gazza went upstairs. I was in the No 2 position with the rest of the team behind us and covering the outside of the house. We heard more screaming from behind a closed bedroom door," he told the New Zealand Police Association's Police News.

Mr Westrupp, along with Mr Robertson, walked upstairs.

He stood in the doorway of a bathroom next to the bedroom and Mr Robertson forced the room door open, which was then slammed shut immediately.

Then a gun shot blasted through the door.

"A hole appeared in the door and there was a deep boom, the sound of a shotgun."

He told the NZPA Gazza took the "full brunt of the blast".

He said Josh grabbed Gazza around his chest and began backing down the hallway, yelling, "Get out! Get out!", Police News reported.

At that point, Mr Westrupp said he felt vulnerable.

"If I stepped into that corridor, I would be in the danger zone.

"The walls were very thin and I knew the offender would be able to hear me moving around. He might even have been able to see me through the gunshot hole in the door. He might have decided to shoot through the wall into the bathroom," he said.

Wellington police dog Gazza is farewelled. Photo via Facebook/NZ Police
Wellington police dog Gazza is farewelled. Photo via Facebook/NZ Police

"I felt vulnerable and the Glock was useless against a shotgun at close range. I was thinking, 'Oh no, my family, I've got to make it home. I've got to get out'."

He then made the decision to fling himself out the bathroom window, landing several metres below.

"I was happy to be alive, but it was game over for me in terms of the operation.

"Then Cam dragged me to cover, despite the armed offender still being in the house above us. The team was now having to deal with the offender and keep me safe while doing first aid."

A rescue helicopter arrived to take Mr Westrupp to hospital who was slipping in and out of consciousness, Police News reported.

"The next day I got out of my hospital bed and realised the extent of my injuries. It was surreal. It's not part of your training to jump out of second-storey windows."

He said Mr Robertson came to visit him in hospital the next day.

" ... I really wanted to see him and get a chance to thank him, one on one. Gazza had saved lives. It could have been me or someone else, either killed or injured."

Jonathan said he was also grateful for what the wider team did for him.

"Everything surged into action -- AOS, CIB, neighbourhood teams. There was also so much support at the hospital for me and my family from police, the Police Association, plus the bosses and colleagues from my station."

Tekira was holed up for nearly 23 hours in the Kokiri Cres house in Porirua after killing Gazza.

He was found dead at scene the next day.

Ten days later, the same house was fully engulfed in flames.

Police said the fire was being treated as suspicious.

- NZ Herald

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