Net tightens on stop-go man's killer

By Anita Moran,

The motive for killing George Taiaroa would appal most people, but police will not go into specific details about it.

Addressing a media conference about the shooting in Rotorua yesterday afternoon, Detective Inspector Tim Anderson said police knew where their suspect was and had spoken to the man as part of their investigation.

Mr Anderson also issued a warning to those who were protecting him.

He said police believe they now knew the motive of the shooting and drugs, gangs and mistaken identity could be ruled out.

Mr Taiaroa was shot as he operated a stop-go sign on Tram Rd at Atiamuri in Waikato on March 19.

Mr Anderson said police believed Mr Taiaroa was sought out and targeted by his killer.

"However, we do not believe that George or his family knew his killer. There is no evidence that this was a case of mistaken identity."

Mr Anderson said the motive for the murder was misguided and it was beyond comprehension.

He warned that protecting the murderer was tantamount to pulling the trigger.

Police were keeping an eye on a handful of people in connection to the shooting.

Mr Anderson said the suspect was a cold blooded killer and the shooting was "planned, thought through and targeted".

However, he believed no one else was in danger.

Mr Anderson said those who were assisting the suspect had a misplaced loyalty and he urged them to come forward.

Mr Taiaroa's family were being kept well informed about the progress of the investigation and Mr Anderson said they were staying very strong.

No arrests have yet been made.

Mr Anderson would not say whether the suspect was known to police before the shooting happened.

He also would not comment as to whether the incident was racially motivated.

Mr Anderson would not be drawn on the searches which have been carried out at properties in Rotorua and rural Taranaki, other than to say a tyre and a tow bar had been seized and were being examined.

"Time will offer no refuge to the offender," he said, adding that the killer would be caught.

"You only have to look to the conviction this week of Rodney Tahu's killer for proof that we never give up," he said.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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