Paeroa man shot in back, partner claims

The scene of a fatal police shooting in the small Bay of Plenty village of Karangahake, near Paeroa. Photo / Alan Gibson
The scene of a fatal police shooting in the small Bay of Plenty village of Karangahake, near Paeroa. Photo / Alan Gibson

A man who was shot dead by police in Paeroa was shot in the back, his partner claims.

Natalie Avery told Fairfax that her partner Mike Taylor "had nothing in his hands" and was walking away from them when she says police fired two shots.

"He had his f***ing back to them. And he had his hands up in the air.

"I thought they'd tasered him, but they'd shot him." Police declined to comment on Avery's accusation.

The shooting occurred on the couple's property on County Rd, in the Karangahake Gorge, just after 8.30am yesterday.

At a press conference, Waikato area commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said Taylor was shot dead after getting "very close" to the three attending officers while wielding a slasher and machete.

Mr Bird said he fully backed the officers moves in shooting him as they feared for their lives.

Avery told Fairfax she called police on Friday morning because Taylor was acting aggressively.

"No one in my position should ever call the police for help. I have to live with it."

The shooting happened in front of Avery and her 14-year-old daughter. Police said a 17-year-old was also at the property.

Avery said that Taylor had been holding a slasher/sickle-type instrument and a machete. He threw the slasher/sickle at the police car, smashing a window, and threw the machete over the top of the police car.

Avery said two of the police officers stationed themselves behind the open doors of their police car and each fired a pistol at least once as Taylor walked away.

At the press conference, Mr Bird said he "absolutely"backed the officers decision to fire a shot at Taylor, who is yet to be officially named by police.

"Our officers are well trained, they have got to make judgment decisions and all the current facts that I have before me, they made the right decision."

Police said the partner of the dead man and her two children -- a 14-year-old girl and 17-year-old boy -- lived at the property. Neither the partner nor the children were injured in the incident.

Mr Bird says the three officers involved were "attacked"but none were injured.

"It was a fast moving, dynamic scene but we need to reconstruct that to determine the facts."

The shot man was armed with a sickle and a machete when he went to attack the officers.

A "number"of other knives were also found at the scene.

Officers were armed with a taser but it could not be used.

"Police officers had a taser available but they couldn't deploy the taser at the time and used a firearm."

He added: "The officers are going through a real emotional rollercoaster and we haven't yet been able to speak to them."

Neighbours of Taylor said he was known for aggressive and threatening behaviour.

Clive McDonald told the Herald yesterday he was out walking his dog a few years ago when he Taylor drove his vehicle at them. They only just managed to jump out of the way as the vehicle brushed his shoulder speeding past.

He had also been involved in numerous disputes over several gates Taylor had erected on the Hauraki Rail Trail blocking the public's access. The Hauraki District Council eventually stepped in and, after the second attempt, was successful at a gate remaining open for the public's use.

"It was absolutely ridiculous behaviour."

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- NZ Herald

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