A gang member who discharged a sawn-off shotgun in a confrontation outside a school, sending it into lockdown, has admitted he was “dumb” to be carrying a loaded weapon.
He also said it was “dumber” to be wearing a Head Hunter’s T-shirt in a place where it was likely to cause offence, a court has been told.
Daniel Allen Fayen, 47, was walking outside St John’s College in Hastings while wearing a Head Hunters T-shirt when three men in a van, believed to be rival gang members, targeted him.
They wrested his T-shirt from him. Fayen responded by taking a loaded sawn-off shotgun out of a duffle bag he was carrying and firing one shot into the ground, and one into the air.
At the time of the incident on a Friday morning in September last year, police said St John’s College and other schools around the Mayfair area of Hastings went into lockdown while officers made the area secure.
The Napier District Court was told on Friday that, after discharging the firearm, Fayen put the weapon back in his bag and tried to hide it by placing it over a garden fence.
However, both he and the bag were found by police soon afterwards.
Inside the bag police found the shotgun with two discharged cartridges in the breech, along with a variety of shotgun and other ammunition types.
Fayen pleaded guilty to charges of careless use of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.
“There is no lawful reason to have a sawn-off shotgun,” Judge Richard Earwaker said.
The judge said Fayen had admitted to a report writer that he was “dumb” to be carrying a shotgun in his bag. He had also conceded it was “dumber” to keep it loaded and to be wearing a T-shirt with gang insignia.
He had told the report writer: “I put one into the ground and one in the air to scare them off. I shouldn’t have done that.”
He expressed remorse.
Judge Earwaker said the identity of the assailants was not known, but there was a “clear inference” that the confrontation had been provoked by Fayen’s T-shirt.
He sentenced Fayen to 11 months in prison.
Prisoners on short jail terms are usually released when half their time has been served, and Fayen has been in custody for five months on remand. That means he is likely to be freed in about a fortnight.
For that reason, Judge Earwaker ordered him to be subject to six months of release conditions after he leaves jail.
These include not consuming alcohol or non-prescription drugs, undergoing an assessment for a residential rehabilitation programme, and attending any treatment recommended by that assessment.
“He really needs to get into some sort of residential programme,” the judge said.
Ric Stevens spent many years working for the former New Zealand Press Association news agency, including as a political reporter at Parliament, before holding senior positions at various daily newspapers. He joined NZME’s Open Justice team in 2022 and is based in Hawke’s Bay. His writing in the crime and justice sphere is informed by four years of front-line experience as a probation officer.