A New Zealand man gunned down in Darwin managed to stab his alleged killer before he was shot dead - and may have saved others from the same fate.

Kiwi security guard Robert Courtney, 52, took on alleged guman Ben Hoffmann at least twice at a scrap-recycling yard and has been labelled a hero. Courtney was one of four men killed in the shooting rampage.

Northern Territory police commissioner Reece Kershaw said it was "a possibility" that the stab wounds inflicted by Courtney - who worked at the Mindil Beach Casino - prompted the alleged killer to hand himself in, The Age reported.

Alleged gunman Ben Hoffman. Photo / Supplied
Alleged gunman Ben Hoffman. Photo / Supplied

"That's probably speculating, but [Mr Hoffman] did have to undergo surgery in hospital for those wounds," he said.


"We also believe that at the time of offending [Mr Hoffmann] was displaying behaviours consistent with being under the influence of an intoxicating substance and [we are] awaiting toxicology results."

The Age reported it had viewed CCTV footage of the moments leading up to the attack on Courtney.

"It shows the alleged killer, who is carrying a gun and dressed in a hi-viz shirt, pulling up outside Mr Courtney's rental home and jogging through the adjoining recycling business, seemingly unsure of where to go," The Age reported.

Resident Johnny Reid told The Age that the guman shot through locked doors until he found Courtney. The duo apparently knew one another.

Landlord Gerard French told The Age he wondered what could have happened if Courtney had not wounded his alleged killer. "We don't know how long the list was do we? But he definitely put a stop to the gunman," French said.

The Age reported Courtney had his own dark past and was due to appear in a Darwin court on sex offences on Thursday.

Reid speculated that Courtney might have been saved if police had been quicker to get to him.

"None of them even bothered to go into that bloody house," Reid told The Age. "They were all standing around, and they all walked up and were standing at the gate with their torches. Then (a friend) piped up: 'Just bloody well go in there'."


Friends said Courtney was a "gentle giant" who was always friendly, but said they did not know his back story.

"Rob's a big strong fella," another resident, Peter, told The Age. "The other guy's strong too. When he's coming out (in CCTV footage) covered in blood back to front, with that big knife hanging down, he's a big f***king strong bloke. But our Rob, he's a big Maori, he would have tipped the guy upside down if he had the chance."

Police at the scene.
Police at the scene.

Courtney was one of four men shot dead in separate locations in Darwin on Tuesday.

The other victims have been named as a Hassan Baydoun, 33, Michael Sisois, 57, and Nigel Hellings, 76. A woman survived with injuries.

READ MORE: Witness describes terrifying moment Robert Courtney was gunned down

Hoffmann has been charged with four counts of murder, two of recklessly endanger serious harm and one count of criminal damage, The Age reported.

He is expected to appear in the Darwin Local Court today.

It's alleged Hoffman, who was on parole, used a stolen shot gun to carry out the shooting spree.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has previously confirmed it was "aware of the death of a New Zealander in Darwin, and is in contact with local authorities. For privacy reasons no further information will be provided."