Reporter for the New Zealand Herald

IPCA report into Myers Park shooting of David Cervan due soon

David Cerven with family friend Renata Marko. Photo / Supplied.
David Cerven with family friend Renata Marko. Photo / Supplied.

The circumstances which led to a suspected "suicide by cop" shooting in an Auckland park will become clearer when an independent report is released soon.

Tomorrow marks 12 months since David Cerven was fatally shot by police in Myers Park, just off Queen St, after telling them he was armed.

No weapon was found after the 21-year-old, who was a suspect in three aggravated robberies on the North Shore, was shot dead.

Unusually his death, which the Coroner has indicated was "self-inflicted", was captured on CCTV cameras and the footage is a key piece of evidence in three separate investigations.

In the first inquiry - a homicide investigation called Operation Delaware - the two officers who fired at Cerven were cleared of criminal wrongdoing.

No charges were laid as shooting Cerven was considered self-defence, where the use of force is considered reasonable "in the circumstances as he or she believes them to be".

However, police top brass have declined to elaborate on a parallel inquiry into whether the police took the right steps during the chain of events triggered from Cerven's 111 call.

Emergency services in Myers Park on the hours after David Cerven's death in August last year. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
Emergency services in Myers Park on the hours after David Cerven's death in August last year. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
Police examining the scene of David Cerven's death in Myers Park. Photo / Jason Oxenham.
Police examining the scene of David Cerven's death in Myers Park. Photo / Jason Oxenham.

The "Practice, Policy and Procedure" investigation is complete and the findings have been given to the Coroner, but not released to the public.

However, the third investigation by the Independent Police Conduct Authority, has recently wrapped up.

Pieter Roozendaal, IPCA complaints manager, said a report is being drafted and "should be available for release sometime" in August.

Once the IPCA report is given to Coroner Katharine Greig, she will decide whether to hold a public inquest hearing or make a ruling on his death based on the evidence in front of her.

She has already released preliminary findings to say the death of the Slovakian national appears likely to have been suicide.

"There is currently reasonable cause to believe the death was self-inflicted, though this is in no way a concluded view on the matter," Greig wrote in a ruling last September.

Cerven, a skilled kickboxer who had suffered a career-ending knee injury, came to Auckland in March last year on a 12 month working visa.

He worked as an apprentice roofer and later as a waterproofer. A former colleague previously told the Herald that Cerven was hardworking and friendly.

He resigned several weeks before his death after having some relationship problems with his girlfriend.

But his workmate was shocked when Cerven was named as a suspect in three robberies of liquor stores on the North Shore.

David Cerven was named as a suspect in three armed robberies before he was shot dead by police. Photo / Supplied.
David Cerven was named as a suspect in three armed robberies before he was shot dead by police. Photo / Supplied.

Six hours after the police press release was published, Cerven gave himself up.

He called 111 at 7.23pm on August 2 last year to say he was in Myers Park and wanted by police.

Cerven insisted police come to the park, rather than walk a few hundred metres to Auckland Central station, according to the city's most senior officer.

"When he was located he told the officers who engaged with him verbally from a distance that he was armed," Superintendent Richard Chambers said at a press conference following the shooting.

"Consequently, unarmed staff retreated and requested armed officers to attend."

David Cerven
David Cerven

Death of David Cerven

Three investigations

Criminal: No charges laid, use of force justified as self-defence

Internal: "Practice, Policy and Procedure" report complete. Findings given to Coroner.

Independent Police Conduct Authority: Report could be released this month.

Coroner: Indicated shooting is likely suicide. Will decide whether inquest should be public hearing following IPCA report.

- NZ Herald

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