Man killed by Hamilton police cocked gun 'in very close proximity'

By Belinda Feek, Vaimoana Tapaleao

Police guard the scene. Photo by Mike Scott
Police guard the scene. Photo by Mike Scott

A man shot dead by police during a police search in Hamilton last night had presented a firearm, police revealed.

Assistant commissioner Allan Boreham said police were searching a property in relation to an ongoing investigation into the supply of methamphetamine and firearms when the shooting happened.

"Upon entry to the building, officers announced that they were armed police," Boreham said.

He said a man inside the building picked up a long-barrelled firearm and cocked it "in very close proximity".

"Despite being called upon multiple times, he continued to present the firearm and was subsequently shot."

Boreham said the premises were very cramped and officers took the man outside, and administered first aid until the ambulance arrived.

The 36-year-old Hamilton man was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said his name would not be released at this stage, as he was yet to be formally identified.

"The scene was immediately shut down and has been guarded overnight and, as is standard, an investigation into the circumstances of the shooting is under way."

A woman known to the dead man was also in the building, in a different area.

She has given police an initial statement but will be spoken to further as the enquiry progresses, Boreham said.

The IPCA has also been advised.

The original investigation into the methamphetamine supply and firearms is ongoing.

The investigation has uncov ered possible gang connections to the address.

A full scene examination will get under way this morning and is expected to take several days.

Police are quizzing people turning up to work near the shooting site, and are writing down their details before letting them through.

Emergency services were called to the industrial area in Grasslands Pl at about 6.45pm.

Grasslands Place in Hamilton has been cordoned off after a suspected shooting. Photo / Belinda Feek
Grasslands Place in Hamilton has been cordoned off after a suspected shooting. Photo / Belinda Feek

Armed Offenders Squad and members of the Criminal Investigation Branch were in attendance at the time.

Locals say the building is broken up into three areas. The front section is a mechanics' workshop, which has been running for a month or so.

The rear two sections were being used "for other things", they say.

One business owner who was working last night wouldn't comment about the shooting, just saying that the police do a great job but unfortunately it went wrong last night.

Several officers in hazmat suits were seen leaving the site in a number of vehicles shortly after the shooting last night.

A bus driver, who asked not to be named, said there was a huge police presence on site.

"I was driving past and I saw the police at the intersection with Kahikatea Dr. One of them had his police vehicle [blocking the road], with its lights flashing, and a rifle.

"When I saw the rifle, I thought: 'Yep, something's going down there'."

Police shootings since 2000

September 8, 2015: Pera Ariki Smiler, 25, shot dead outside McDonald's in Upper Hutt after reportedly firing his rifle inside the restaurant on Main St and then brandishing the rifle in the street
June 11, 2016: Mike Taylor was shot by police at his property on County Rd, in the Karangahake Gorge, just after 8.30am. Police said he was shot dead after getting "very close" to the three attending officers while wielding a slasher and machete. But his partner claimed Taylor had nothing in his hands, and was shot in the back
August 2, 2015: David Cerven, 21, was shot dead in Myers Park, Auckland. A Slovakian national on a working holiday visa, Cervan was wanted in connection with three armed robberies. Two officers apparently fired on him within moments of each other
May 3, 2015: Vaughan William John Te Moananui, 33, shot after he refused to surrender to police, and pulled out a gun in Thames. He was taken to hospital but died shortly afterwards
July 7, 2013: Caleb Henry, 20, shot on Auckland's Northern Motorway after committing a home invasion in Opotiki. Officers chased him from Cambridge and eventually stopped him with road spikes. He was pointing his gun at officers when a member of the Armed Offenders Squad killed him
June 8, 2013: Adam Te Rata Charles Morehu, 33, shot and killed after shots fired at police at New Plymouth Golf Club. The IPCA later said poor communication and a lack of command and control contributed to the events
July 15, 2011: Anthony Ratahi, 46, shot and killed as he struggled with police dog after a siege in Opunake, 65km south of New Plymouth. He had been holding ex-partner Marcelle Beer hostage at the Headlands Hotel for 12 hours
March 28, 2011: Lachan Kelly-Tumarae, 19, shot four times after a police chase in Omahu, near Hastings. Kelly-Tumarae was killed after he stopped his car and pointed a gun at officers
June 28, 2009: Shayne Sime, 42, shot dead after two-hour standoff in Christchurch. An officer and a neighbour were injured. Sime, who was wheelchair-bound, was believed to be depressed and his death was ruled a suicide
January 23, 2009: Halatau Naitoko, 17 - an innocent bystander - shot dead on Auckland's Northwestern Motorway after getting caught in crossfire as police shot at aggravated robber Stephen Hohepa McDonald, 50
October 23, 2008: Lee Jane Mettam, 37, fatally shot after she threatened to kill staff of a Vodafone store in Whangarei and aimed her rifle at police.
September 26, 2007: Stephen Bellingham, 37, shot dead in Christchurch after smashing cars and car windows with a claw hammer. Said to have been on a party-pill binge.
August 14, 2004: Haidar Ebbadi Mahdi, 37, died from bullet to head as he stabbed wife being held in headlock in South Auckland house;
April 30, 2000: Steven Wallace, 23, of Waitara, shot after window-smashing spree in the town.

- NZ Herald

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