"We've been shot at! We've been shot at!"
Those were the words of Constable Matthew Hunt, whose frantic final transmission over police radio was played in court on Tuesday.
As dispatchers tried to pinpoint where he was on the morning of June 19, 2020, Hunt mentioned a nearby road in the West Auckland suburb of Massey. He wasn't heard from again.
Crown prosecutors played the recording, along with a radio transmission from Constable David Goldfinch, during the second day of testimony in the Auckland High Court trial of Eli Bob Sauni Epiha.
The defendant, 25, has pleaded guilty to Hunt's murder — although he maintains the shooting was the result of recklessness rather than murderous intent.
He has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, a charge resulting from the non-fatal gunshot injuries Constable Goldfinch suffered.
"Officer on the ground! We need an ambulance immediately," Goldfinch could be heard yelling that morning, his words accentuated by heavy breathing.
"Where are you, brother?" another person on the radio responded. "Let us know where you are."
"I was shot by a gun," Goldfinch, who was unarmed, responded. "I've been f***ing shot.
"I'm bleeding in my leg. I'm running. They shot me."
Jurors also watched again confronting CCTV footage in which a crash, screams and 14 blasts can clearly be heard, as well as cellphone footage appearing to show Epiha and co-defendant Natalie Jane Bracken calmly leaving the scene in another car as Hunt lay motionless in the road.
Bracken is also on trial, accused of being an accessory after the fact to murder — the result, prosecutors said earlier, of driving Epiha from the shooting scene.
Both videos were initially shown during the prosecution's opening statement. Several jurors looked away as the CCTV footage, which did not show the shooting itself, was played the second time.
Prosecutors later called a witness who was visiting his partner at a nearby home when he heard a car crash and ran outside, fearing it was his own car that had been smashed. As he came outside, standing in the driveway of his partner's home, he saw the patrol car drive up and noticed that the passenger door of a damaged car had been opened, he testified.
"The next thing I saw was him pull out a long-barrel assault rifle," the man said. "He lifted it towards the police car. The policeman was moving towards the man. He lifted the rifle and pointed it at the officer.
"As he lifted the rifle ... the policeman stepped to the left and the man discharged the rifle. I don't know how many shots he fired ... The officer went down."
Prosecutors contend Epiha first fired 10 shots at Constable Goldfinch that morning, with four bullets striking him as the unarmed officer ran for his life. Hunt, prosecutors said, got out of the patrol car next and was also shot four times.
The witness said after the shots were fired he ducked behind a car and he didn't see much else. He then ran inside.
"I heard possibly two to three [shots] but I switched off after that," he said. "I was scared for my life, I suppose. My initial instinct was ... he could have seen us."
His primary directive at that point, he explained, was to "get the hell out of the way of the sharp end of the rifle".
The trial is set to last three weeks.