A man fatally shot by police in New Plymouth had rammed a patrol car, starting a sequence of events that led to his death.
Kaoss Price, 22, was the man shot by police in New Plymouth. He was once described as a "one-man crime wave" following 12 months of consistent offending, a court judgment reveals.
The 22-year-old man was from Bell Block in Taranaki.
Police said Price was fatally shot during a vehicle stop in Devon Rd on Saturday about 9.30pm. A vehicle driven by an associate of Price's was travelling on State Highway 3 between New Plymouth and Waitara.
Price had been following another vehicle in a convoy that night. When officers stopped the first car Price then drove past, turned around and rammed the stationary police car, Assistant Police Commissioner Sandra Venables told reporters today.
Any further details were the subject of the ongoing investigation with a number of witness statements yet to be taken.
A critical incident investigation was underway to determine the circumstances of the incident, gathering all evidence, establishing whether force used was justified and whether anyone was liable.
"This is an incredibly difficult and tragic time for Mr Price's whānau who are grieving the loss of their loved one and I want them to know that they have our deepest sympathies."
The incident had also been "incredibly traumatic" for the officers involved.
"I am extremely grateful that [the officers] were not physically harmed."
Kaumātua had conducted a karakia last night before Price's body removed from the scene, Venables said.
An autopsy would be done in the coming days.
Venables said the scene examination of where the man was shot was still underway.
She would not divulge what level of experience the police officer had who shot Price.
Formal statements had yet to be taken from the officers involved, limiting what Venables could say about what happened.
The officers involved in the incident were not at work but were being supported. She said the priority was to support Price's whānau and police staff.
"We needed to make sure that everything was done right," Venables said.
She expected the scene examination was completed either today or tomorrow.
A person living nearby told the NZ Herald she was lying in bed when she heard a loud volley of gunfire on Saturday night.
"I heard a 'bang, bang, bang' and I thought, what on earth was that," the resident said.
"It sounded a lot louder than what you'd normally hear ... it sounded like a gun."
The Independent Police Conduct Authority was being notified and a critical incident investigation was under way.
Price's long history of offending was detailed during a successful High Court appeal of his sentence in November last year of two years, six months in prison on charges including burglary, police chases, failing to stop, escaping custody and theft.
Justice Christine Grice found Price's sentence was "manifestly excessive" and should have included a discount for his youth.
His final sentence was 23 months in prison, making him eligible for home detention.
Price's offending spanned about a year from November 2020 to October 2021 - earning him the title of a "one-man crime wave", as noted in the High Court decision.
After refusing to stop for police on November 5, 2020, Price drove towards oncoming traffic and almost hit schoolchildren when he approached a pedestrian crossing, forcing police to abandon their pursuit.
Later that day, Price crashed into two vehicles, one of which had young children inside. Inside his car, 2.5 grams of methamphetamine was found along with a knuckle duster.
The following month, Price was bailed to his grandmother's home where he stole almost $3000 worth of items, including a ring, phone and tinderbox, before driving off in her car while she slept, despite being suspended from driving.
Between May and July 2021, Price committed fuel theft on eight separate occasions.
When Price was found by police on May 28, he broke free as he was being handcuffed by an officer before running away.
On at least four occasions, Price escaped police while driving. There were two instances of Price being pulled over by officers before speeding off.
On another occasion, Price ignored requests to stop by police and drove through several stop signs, reaching 100 kilometres per hour in a 50km/h zone, narrowly missing a parked police vehicle.
On July 8 last year, Price entered a man's home while he slept before taking his keys and driving away in his car.