A police officer critically hurt during the Auckland CBD shootings is a beloved father of two and distinguished sportsman, heavily involved in a local community club.
Incredibly, the officer was able to walk away from Thursday’s shooting under his own steam, despite being shot in a firefight with a gunman, who killed two people and injured at least 10 others at the One Queen Street building project on the city waterfront.
Photographs show the officer emerging from the building pressing his police shirt against his face as a black-helmeted Special Tactics Group officer escorts him to safety.
Blood can be seen on his face, chest and arms.
Medical teams assessed the officer’s injuries as critical and rushed him to hospital where his condition stabilised.
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster yesterday said police were supporting the officer’s family as he faced a long road to recovery.
“The update yesterday was everybody was stable, our officer has quite a road to recovery and will no doubt need surgery,” Coster said.
“We expect him to be in hospital for a while.”
A second officer was also injured in the shooting, but is no longer in hospital.
With the shooting emergency breaking out just after 7am Thursday, Coster said police officers of varying levels of experience and training all rushed into the One Queen St building, which is currently being refurbished in a $275 million job that is one of New Zealand’s largest property projects.
That ranged from first regular first-response officers to specialist Armed Offenders Squad members to elite STG teams.
“The staff who went into the building, and there was a large number of them, came from many different work groups,” Coster said.
NZ Police Association president Chris Cahill said his group - set up to care for the wellbeing of officers - is working with police to support the injured officers and their whānau.
He said the association has a critical incident response plan it uses to guide the support it provides in such incidents, however, the support is also always tailored to individual needs.
In cases, where an officer is in hospital, the association might put family up in nearby accommodation or help arrange travel.
It is designed to look after officers and their families in the immediate aftermath and take off some of the logistics and other pressures they face.
“That’s clearly the case for the officer who is still in hospital and has got a fairly long recovery,” Cahill said.
“But then we have this support around the wider mental health issues and making sure everyone’s doing okay.”
Sometimes family members need more support than the injured officers themselves, he said.
And with such a wide variety of officers responding to the shooting, Cahill said his team were working with police to make sure there was a variety of support available.
For instance, an officer who is new to the force might have a very different response to one with years of experience, who might have responded to multiple incidents, he said.
The shooter has been identified as 24-year-old Matu Tangi Matua Reid. He was on home detention for domestic violence convictions and had approval to travel to the building site as a worker.
Commissioner Coster said Reid’s rampage was connected to his work at the site.
Reid was later found dead, barricaded inside the high-rise’s lift shaft, after an exchange of fire with police and the Armed Offenders Squad.
In a statement, construction company LT McGuiness said the gunman was an employee of a subcontractor that had been working on the project.