The family of a man shot dead by police at the weekend say they are not angry at the officer who pulled the trigger and have confidence the incident was dealt with professionally.

And it has emerged that his partner was the first to call 111 when he started his machete-wielding rampage through the Papatoetoe street where they lived.

Hitesh Lal, 43, was shot by a police officer in the early hours of Sunday morning.

He had left his home on Central Ave just after 1am and was damaging cars and property with the machete and trying to cut power lines as he made his way along the road.


His partner called 111 followed by 12 terrified residents.

Lal also called 111 himself telling police he would "f**king kill anyone that comes my way".

A man was shot dead early Monday morning after wielding a machete on Central Ave, Papatoetoe. Photo / Dean Purcell
A man was shot dead early Monday morning after wielding a machete on Central Ave, Papatoetoe. Photo / Dean Purcell

A police dog handler was first on the scene and found Lal smashing his way into the home of a family with young children.

He did not know them.

The officer repeatedly told Lal to stop and drop the weapon.

Lal refused and started advancing on the officer, who shot him.

Lal died at the scene.

Police, the Coroner and the Independent Police Conduct Authority are all investigating.


His cousin Rajiv Raja spoke to the Herald today and said the family were not angry at the police.

"There has been a lot of thing said on social media about this," he said of posts questioning the officer's actions, experience and whether Lal could have been incapacitated using a Taser, dog or verbal communication.

"I don't want to (speculate) because I don't know all the details … but police told his partner he was basically advancing forward and refusing to put the knife down.

"If you don't put the knife down, if you don't do what you are told - these things will happen."

Raja has lived in New Zealand for 30 years and said had never had an issue with the police.

"They are very professional here, I have faith in our police," he said.


"Sometimes they may not get it right, but when they tell you to do something, you just have to do it."

Hitesh Navin Lal was shot dead by police at the weekend. Photo / Facebook
Hitesh Navin Lal was shot dead by police at the weekend. Photo / Facebook

Lal's body was being returned to his family today and a funeral would be held next week after the national lockdown restrictions are relaxed.

This would allow some family to attend the service.

Raja said Lal's partner was utterly devastated by his death.

"I saw her yesterday and she was really crying … she looks like she is a broken person," he said.

"She is very, very, very broken, very hurt, very upset."


Raja believed his cousin "just snapped" after a heated argument with his stepbrother in Fiji.

The siblings had been at loggerheads for some time over a property Lal had invested $250,000 in.

Lal had put the property - a farm - in the brother's name but funded the purchase himself.

Raja said once the deal was done the brother took over and told Lal "it's in my name, it is mine".

He said Lal was "very upset, very frustrated" over the situation and often had heated arguments with the brother about it.

The last argument was on Saturday night shortly before the shooting.


Raja said Lal had been drinking but was unsure how much.

"He had some vodka definitely," he said.

"He had just given up smoking, he did not use drugs, apart from alcohol.

Hitesh Lal. Photo / Facebook
Hitesh Lal. Photo / Facebook

"His brother called from Fiji and they had a long argument, from what I heard his brother was very rude and abusive to him.

"The conversation finished and he was very agitated, upset, frustrated.

"Usually his partner would just talk to him, calm him down … he picked up the knife and she asked him where he was going. He said 'just out to clear my head'.


"He went about 1km before he completely snapped."

The Herald understands the machete was significant in size and sharp enough to easily sever powerlines and "slice through glass".

"It is still sinking in what happened," said Raja.

"We are still in shock."

Lal was born and raised in Ba, Fiji, but moved to New Zealand 20 years ago.

"He was in a lot of trouble in Fiji, in with the wrong crowd, so they brought him here," said Raja.


"He initially stayed with us, then he went out on his own. He got married and had a daughter.

"The marriage did not work and they separated and he went to Australia to work in the mines."

Lal was "making good money" and enjoyed Australia, where he worked with explosives.

About eight years ago there was an accident at work and he ended up in hospital.

Raja said that led to a payout from his employer and he decided to return to New Zealand as the mining job was simply too dangerous.

"He was paid a substantial sum … when he came back to New Zealand he did not really have to work." Raja said.


"He invested a lot of the money into the farm, so that was frustrating."

The scene at Central Ave, Papatoetoe where police shot a man dead early this morning. Photo / Dean Purcell
The scene at Central Ave, Papatoetoe where police shot a man dead early this morning. Photo / Dean Purcell

He met his current partner soon after he returned to Auckland.

Recently he had started driving Uber taxis.

"I just can't believe this has happened," said Raja.

"I spoke to him on Saturday night and he was fine, he was normal, there was no indication at all that this was going to happen."

Raja said in spite of how he died, his cousin was not a bad person.


"He was a very good guy," he told the Herald.

"He was always very friendly, he always tried to help people.

"Sometimes he would get a bit angry, but we all do - there was nothing to indicate he would do something like this."

Lal is survived by his daughter, now 18 and attending university, and his father who is based in the US but is currently in Fiji.

"He got his father to come back to Fiji to help sort out the land," Raja said.

"His father won't be able to attend the funeral."


The family were all pulling together to help each other through following the shooting, which had put them in the media spotlight in both New Zealand and Fiji.

"His partner is really going through a traumatic time," Raja said.

"It's just such a big shock what has happened, he did not deserve to go this way - it's just really unfortunate what has happened.

"We're not angry ... We are just trying to be strong for each other."

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