A man fatally shot by police during a roadside shootout after robbing a Kawerau bank was a Mongrel Mob member suspected to have used methamphetamine.
In a press conference outside the Kawerau Police Station today, Bay of Plenty District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor revealed details of the day's events leading up to the roadside confrontation.
McGregor said police received reports at 9am that a man, reported to be using methamphetamine, had discharged a firearm at another family member near Kawerau.
While police were investigating the family harm incident, the same man, aged 29, walked into the Kawerau First Credit Union where he robbed the bank with a shotgun.
A while later his vehicle was seen on rural roads between Kawerau and Edgecumbe. A police car attempted to stop him and failed, pursuing the vehicle, he said.
During this time, a "substantial" amount of cash was dropped from the man's car.
About 10.20am the vehicle stopped on State Highway 30, near the Te Teko racecourse.
Armed officers from the Armed Offenders Squad went forward, the offender presented a firearm at them and fired a shot. The officers returned fire, hitting the man.
First aid was administered but the man died shortly after at the scene. No police officers were injured in the confrontation.
McGregor would not confirm where the man was shot and said he was unsure how many times he had been shot.
McGregor said it was an "absolutely tragic event" and one which no police officer wanted to deal with.
"We come to work to keep our community safe and when we use a firearm, it is not taken lightly."
"When this kind of incident happens, it has a traumatic impact on our staff."
The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been advised and will carry out an investigation while the police also carries out several investigations of its own.
McGregor said from the information he currently had available, he was satisfied officers were justified in the shootout.
He confirmed the man was known to police and was a patched Mongrel Mob member.
Police believe the offender had used methamphetamine.
When asked whether Kawerau had an issue with incidents like this, McGregor said it was the first incident in "quite a while" for the town.
"We've done a lot of work with the Kawerau community and Tuwharetoa ki Kawerau with things like meth addiction and trying to build the fabric up where the community feels like it's getting ahead and there's light at the end of the tunnel."
A kaumātua will be brought to the scene tonight to say a karakia before the man's body is moved.
A post-mortem examination will be carried out before the body is returned to the man's family.
The road is expected to be reopened tonight after ESR finishes its scene examination.