Josh Masters pulled into the driveway of the Auckland's Harley Davidson dealership on his new motorcycle.
He'd left just a few minutes ago after picking up the keys to his Harley, in the shop for some minor repairs, but turned around to come back as the gear lever was still sticking.
The powerful bike is a status symbol for gang members, but also signified Masters' newfound freedom.
His previous Harley was seized in police raids which sent Masters to prison for 10 years, after pleading guilty to dealing methamphetamine and money laundering.
The king of the Killer Beez street gang was finally free and the 40-year-old wasted no time in flexing his muscles and claiming back what he believed to belong to him; the streets of Ōtara where he fought his way to the top of the pile.
His return rubbed some people up the wrong way.
One of them happened to be standing at the service counter at the Harley Davidson showroom in Mt Wellington when Masters rode on to the driveway at 1.46pm on Friday April 26, 2019.
Even with just one good eye, Akustino Tae had a clear view down the showroom floor and instantly recognised Masters in his bright white leather Killer Beez patch.
As the Killer Beez president rode down the alley beside the dealership, Tae moved quickly for a man of his size - almost 2 metres tall and nearly as wide - through the shop to the service area where Masters was headed.
As he strode towards Masters, who was now stationary on top of his motorcycle, Tae reached into his jacket and pulled out a black semi-automatic 9mm pistol from the pocket. He pointed the firearm straight at Masters and fired.
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The single bullet went straight through Master's left arm, ripped into the side of his torso and lodged in his spinal canal.
The canal is a hollow passage formed by the vertebrae that run from the base of the skull to the sacrum, which connects to the pelvis, to protect the spinal cord.
Masters collapsed in a heap on the asphalt, pinned under the Harley Davidson which fell on top of him.
Tae, a patched member of the rival Tribesmen motorcycle gang, kept moving forward on his defenceless rival.
Holding the pistol in his right hand, Tae pulled back the slide on top of the firearm in an attempt to reload, aimed at Masters and squeezed the trigger.
Click. Nothing happened, so Tae fired again. Click. He'd jammed the gun by mistake.
Unaware of the problem, Tae kept walking towards the hapless Masters, unable to move, and pulled back the top slide on the pistol again.
Standing over Masters, Tae pointed the pistol at his head and pulled the trigger.
Click. The chamber was empty.
By repeatedly pulling the top slide on the pistol, Tae mistakenly ejected the only remaining rounds from the pistol.
Only sheer incompetence saved Josh Masters from being shot in the head at point-blank range.
"I told you not to come around here," witnesses heard someone yell, before the 39-year-old Tae walked calmly to his black Toyota Vitz and drove away.
Masters lay still on the ground. Word of his downfall soon spread like wildfire among the police and the media. Masters was a high-profile criminal gunned down at a motorcycle shop in broad daylight.
In some respects, it was no surprise the simmering gang tensions in Auckland boiled over. What did shock detectives who had been dealing with the Killer Beez for nearly 20 years was who had pulled the trigger.
Masters and Tae had been close friends, almost like brothers. The pair were founding members of the Killer Beez, one of the new breed of street gangs which popped up like mushrooms in Auckland in the early 2000s.
Masters, the charismatic leader, and Tae, a staunch foot soldier. They grew up in Ōtara, a suburb in South Auckland sandwiched between Papatoetoe and affluent Botany, jammed up against the eastern edge of State Highway 1.
The population of Ōtara is largely Polynesian and poor, and Masters came into the world at a time when the divisive dawn raids - when Pasifika people were targeted as overstayers by the New Zealand Government - were still raw. Masters had an unsettled upbringing and education.
He was passed around family members and lived all over Ōtara, attending every primary school, both intermediates, and both secondary schools in the district. After repeating the fifth form, Masters left school at the age of 17. He had passed some academic subjects but excelled at sport, especially league.
Ōtara was also the home of the Tribesmen MC, an outlaw motorcycle gang whose yellow-and-black patch carries a skull with a raised middle finger.
At just 21 years old, Masters was a patched member following in the footsteps of the only father figure in his life, Verne Wilson, who was a notoriously hard Tribesmen and representative league player.
Although young, Masters was fearless, tough and strong. Within a few years, it's believed, he became the president of the Ōtara chapter. Rising through the Killer Beez ranks alongside him were his friends: Akustino Tae, the Solomon brothers Michael and Denis, and Dion Snell.
The Tribesmen were an established gang, like the Head Hunters or Highway 61, who rode motorcycles, hung out at their pad and protected their turf.
All around them in Ōtara was a new breed of wannabe gangster who could never afford a Harley Davidson. Or even want one.
Some disaffected Pasifika youth felt connected to the hip hop culture of the United States, whose heroes rapped lyrics about growing up poor, wore heavy "bling" jewellery, and glamorised street feuds and violent retribution.
So the Tribesmen made a calculated, strategic move. They saw the potential of the rebellious young men in their neighbourhood and recruited an army. The Killer Beez were born.
Around the same time, other youth or so-called ABC gangs had ties to established patched gangs: Juvenile Crip Boys (JCB) to Black Power, Red Army to Mongrel Mob, Dope Money Sex (DMS) to the Head Hunters.
Loosely inspired by the warring Crips and Bloods gangs in Los Angeles, the phenomenon of the South Auckland street gangs faded away as members got in trouble with the police, or their disappointed families, or simply grew up.
What made the Killer Beez different from the other feeder gangs was Josh Masters.
He was 25 years old, handsome, physically powerful and capable in combat sports like kickboxing, with genuine leadership and business savvy.
An aspiring rapper who called himself Gravity, Masters appeared in music videos and even set up a music label, Colourway Records, which promoted local musicians, held concerts and sold CDs, clothing and merchandise at the Saturday flea markets.
Young people were used to seeing the glamour and wealth of rap culture in music videos on the MTV channel, but this was Ōtara not Los Angeles.
Masters was a homegrown hero to whom some kids looked up, whose political lyrics spoke to a generation of Pasifika youth on the margins of society.
To disenfranchised youth, the Killer Beez appealed as a potent combination of contemporary hip hop street culture and the structure of traditional patched gangs, building a highly marketable modern gang the likes of which New Zealand had never seen.
Josh Masters was untouchable, the epitome of cool, and young men flocked to join his black and yellow banner. Armies bring violence and the Killer Beez were no different.
There was a spate of attacks across Auckland, often unprovoked, sometimes against entirely innocent parties. Golf clubs, bats and even fence palings were used as weapons.
Police in Counties Manukau had no doubts the Killer Beez were being used as cannon fodder for the Tribesmen, if enforcement was required.The violence was not always random either.
In January 2008 a group of Killer Beez drove to Othello Drive to send a message. In a scene likened by one veteran detective to the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, the gang members stopped outside a house on the Ōtara street and emptied their firearms into the dwelling.
The property was a tinnie house run by a well-known local crime family who had cut ties with the Tribesmen. Someone inside the house fired back with a shotgun.
Pellets from the blast struck Akustino Tae in the face. Just 27 years old at the time, Tae woke up from surgery in Middlemore Hospital to discover he'd lost his left eye.
Doctors had removed two shotgun pellets from his brain.
That same month, the Killer Beez made headlines for the first time and were linked to a number of violent acts across Auckland, including several particularly sickening beatings where people were bashed around the head with baseball bats.
For months, Masters kept his silence until he gave an interview to journalist John Campbell in a prime-time television slot.
With remarkable sangfroid, the now 30-year-old Masters publicly denied any connection between the Killer Beez and violence, or rumours of drug dealing.
"We're against it, we hate it," said Masters, when asked of the gang's attitude towards methamphetamine.
"I have no drug convictions whatsoever. It's not because I'm good at what I do, or good at what [the police] think that I'm doing," Masters said. "I give you my word. No drugs. I'm not known for taking drugs, my family knows that, my friends know that, my boys know that, and now New Zealand knows that.
"I've got nothing to hide."
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Watching Masters' brazen interview in disbelief were Detective Senior Sergeant Albie Alexander and Detective Sergeant Ross Ellwood.
Over the past three months Operation Leo had intercepted more than 110,000 phone calls and text messages until May 2008, when Masters and 43 other Killer Beez and Tribesmen members or associates were arrested.
Termination of Operation Leo came a few short weeks after the Campbell Live interview, giving the police the ultimate right of reply to Masters' denials.
The Killer Beez had tried to portray themselves as "modern-day Robin Hoods", Detective Inspector John Tims told waiting media at a standup press conference.
"They have attempted to achieve status through music and videos in connection with the youth of our community," said Tims. "Based on the evidence secured throughout this operation and today, in simple terms they are drug dealers who are causing destruction and chaos in our community by their actions."
Police seized about $500,000 worth of meth and cannabis, $20,000 cash, a large amount of stolen property as well as motorcycles and cars under the Proceeds of Crime Act, including Masters' brand new Harley Davidson.
He was denied bail, repeatedly, and remanded in custody in Mt Eden Prison for two more years until, in a late twist, he admitted all charges against him shortly before his High Court trial was due to start in 2010.
Despite pleading guilty to supplying methamphetamine, conspiracy to supply the Class-A drug, as well as laundering money through Colourway Records, Masters managed to drag the case out for a further two years by firing lawyers, claiming poor legal advice and arguing about evidence in an attempt minimise his criminal culpability and eventual prison sentence.
Instead of a jury trial, a disputed facts hearing was held in the High Court at Auckland in July 2012, where Justice Kit Toogood listened to the Crown evidence, as well as Masters' own explanations.
Masters swore an affidavit and gave evidence in the witness stand to say that at the time of the Operation Leo surveillance he had stepped down as the leader of the Killer Beez to concentrate his attention to the Colourway music business.
Masters wanted to be a role model, he said, to show others there were other, legitimate ways to earn a good living through promoting musicians and concerts, as well as CDs and merchandise.
While he was aware of the people around him selling drugs, Masters told the judge, he did not approve of drugs and did no more than put buyers and sellers in touch with one another.
That was the extent of his involvement, said Masters, which is why he pleaded guilty to the charges, but denied ever personally handling drugs.
"I found this explanation completely lacking in credibility," said Justice Toogood, in sentencing Masters to 10 years and five months in prison.
"I accept that you have genuine leadership qualities and undoubted business acumen. It is a great shame that your obvious qualities as a charismatic leader amongst your peers were not confined to legitimate business enterprises."
To the great satisfaction of Albie Alexander and Ross Ellwood, Operation Leo achieved its goal of swatting Josh Masters to one side and, consequently, diminish the size and influence of the Killer Beez on the streets of Ōtara, much to the relief of local residents.
Unfortunately, the harsh environment of prison proved an even more fertile ground for recruiting alienated and angry young men.
Masters' army kept growing behind bars and the Killer Beez soon earned a reputation as dangerous prisoners, with brutal attacks on other inmates and prison guards.
The Killer Beez kept aggressively recruiting and by 2015 were the fourth-largest prison gang with 167 affiliates.
By comparison, the Mongrel Mob and Black Power, New Zealand's two largest gangs by far with thousands of members between them, had 684 and 522 affiliates behind bars.
Young men were still flocking to the black and yellow banner of Josh Masters, who by now was eligible for early release on parole.
Prison intelligence reports provided to the Parole Board showed a mobile phone and large quantity of drugs had been found inside Masters' cell.
Masters "remains involved at a high level in the Killer Beez gang", according to the report, and the cellphone was used to orchestrate the gang's activities by communicating with members outside of the prison system.
Masters told the Parole Board the intel reports were "a fiction" and while he may be regarded as being influential within the prison, he was unaware of why he should be considered so.
He had retired from the Tribesmen motorcycle club, asking his aunt to hand in his patch, and claimed to no longer have any association with the Killer Beez.
In its decision of August 2015, the Parole Board said much of Masters' explanation for his misconduct was "disingenuous".
"He gave the impression of being the victim of circumstances and of prison mismanagement. There was a factual basis for some of his claims but on key issues we were far from satisfied, " wrote panel convenor Neville Trendle.
Parole was declined again the following year as his behaviour was described as "confrontational and at times intimidatory".
In May 2018, with his statutory release date fast approaching, Masters was released because he was no longer considered an "undue risk" to the community.
For six months after his sentence ended, Masters was not allowed to drink alcohol, or take drugs, had to meet with a psychologist and his whereabouts were constantly monitored by GPS tracking.
He didn't care. Masters was back where he belonged, with a black and yellow army that was bigger than ever.
By the time he left Paremoremo, the ranks of the Killer Beez had swollen to 312 members. Once a ragtag group of childhood friends from Ōtara, the Killer Beez were now the fourth largest gang in New Zealand behind the Head Hunters, Black Power and Mongrel Mob.
It wasn't long until the trouble started. With Masters' 10 year hiatus from Ōtara over, it soon became clear there was no love lost between him and some of his childhood friends.
Tensions between the Killer Beez and the Tribesmen, two groups once so tight they shared common members, flared in the following months as Masters reasserted himself.
Ōtara, with so many good people who despised the warring gangs, was dragged into a string of tit-for-tat shootings and violence not seen in the suburb for a decade.
Even so, the events that unfolded at the official Harley Davidson dealership in Mt Wellington on a Friday afternoon in April last year were a major escalation with potentially widespread repercussions.
The security cameras captured every moment in grainy detail. Josh Masters arrives on his motorcycle, Akustino Tae raises his pistol to fire once. The rest is history.
Shortly after midnight, Tae handed himself in to waiting police at the Counties Manukau station with his longtime defence lawyer Lorraine Smith in tow. He also handed over the pistol, but declined to explain anything to police in a formal interview.
At the same time, Masters was undergoing emergency surgery to save his life and remove the bullet from his back.
He survived but, like Tae, never spoke to police about the bad blood between them.
To this day, no one is entirely sure whether Tae, the sergeant-at-arms for the Tribesmen, stepped up to the plate to follow gang orders, or whether there was a more personal feud between the two.
He pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and the case was scheduled for a jury trial in the High Court at Auckland next month, but was adjourned indefinitely after the Covid-19 lockdown.
Despite the not guilty plea, from an early stage in the prosecution Tae had offered to admit guilt to an alternative charge of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The deal was originally rejected by the Crown, which believed the question of an intent to kill should be determined by a jury.
But there was a change of heart because of the trial delay, and the fact the maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment for wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm is the same as attempted murder.
For that reason, and others such as the saved time and expense of a trial, as well as Masters refusing to be a witness, the Crown accepted the offer and Tae pleaded guilty in April 2020, almost 12 months to the day since he gunned down Masters.
Tomorrow, Tae will appear in the High Court at Auckland to be sentenced.
But what of Josh Masters, the physically powerful and charismatic leader who raised an army, feared inside and out of prison, the king of the Killer Beez?
He refused to have anything to do with the investigation, or court process, but his fate is documented in the final paragraph of a police summary of the case.
"As a result of the spinal injury suffered by the complainant, he is now paraplegic and will require caregiver assistance for the rest of his life."