A Hamilton police officer had seconds to react as an armed man stood in front of him pointing a sawn-off shotgun to his head.
The officer crouched, turned and ran, just as Shannon Joseph Henry fired a shot into the back of his shoulder and arm during the routine traffic stop on Bankwood St late on Friday, July 9.
Despite there being nowhere to hide, the victim - who has since returned to frontline duties - managed to run to safety and alert his colleagues to what had happened, and the fact Henry was armed.
After firing the shot, the 23-year-old took off in the officer's car, the High Court at Hamilton heard today during Henry's sentencing by Justice Melanie Harland.
Henry was found hours later hiding under bedding in the room of a Ngaruawahia house, clutching the shotgun.
Just prior to Henry firing the shot - over the roof of the vehicle he was a passenger in - and as he held the gun pointing at the officer's head, Henry said "you are f*****, mother f*****."
He was today jailed for seven years and eight months by Justice Harland and ordered to serve a minimum non-parole period of 50 per cent, given the severity of the incident.
But while the injured officer has fought his way back on to the frontline, there are still fears for his ongoing safety due to the more than 100 shotgun pellets which remain lodged in his body - leaving him open to lead poisoning in the years ahead.
'WE HOLD NO ANGER TOWARDS YOU' - OFFICER'S WIFE
The officer's wife told the court, and Henry, that she forgave him for what happened but his actions would have life-long impacts on not only her husband but the whole family.
"I am not holding anger towards Shannon Henry, mainly sadness.
"I'm not really seeking punishment but hope that he gets support for change so that no other family are harmed by him in the future."
Shortly after 2am on July 10, she and their daughter were woken by police banging on their front door - and her fears of her husband being fatally injured on the job were immediate.
"[Husband] had been shot. I thought he was going to die and our daughter would lose her father."
She went to the hospital, where he was lying in his own blood, "full of holes and shredded skin" due to the impact of the shotgun cartridge.
Before each shift, the officer had promised his wife that he would come home safe, but as he lay covered in his own blood on the hospital bed, he immediately apologised for not fulfilling his promise.
While her husband had been battling his injuries, she had been battling her own psychological trauma which she now fears she may never get over given his brush with death.
'FOUND CLUTCHING SHOTGUN UNDER BEDDING'
Crown prosecutor Jacinda Hamilton said when the shotgun was inspected a bullet was found stuck inside, preventing any further shots from being discharged.
An aggravating feature was the fact it wasn't the first time Henry had been involved in incidents with police.
It was also not the first time the injured officer has come across Henry - he had been convicted of assaulting him after an incident in 2018.
But for now, the officer had more serious issues to contend with, due to the inability of being able to extract all the shotgun pellets from this body.
"The biggest cause for concern is the lead that remains in his body. It could reach the stage where it becomes toxic and that is a matter that exercises his mind."
The officer was also "particularly vulnerable" that night; working alone, at night, carrying out a routine traffic stop and was unarmed and not prepared for what he was confronted with that night including the final words by Henry, "you're f*****", before firing the shot.
A pre-sentence report also deemed at high risk of reoffending and harm to others.
'A SAD LIFE'
Counsel Kerry Burroughs said the vulnerability of police officers was inherent to the job.
His client was only young and a cultural report revealed a life stained by substance abuse after the death of his mother aged 7, before his father several years later.
After his mum's death he was put into several different homes and by 11 he was using cannabis, at 14 he was using meth and at 16 alcohol.
Justice Harland noted a recollection of Henry's childhood while his mum was alive and the constant beatings she suffered at the hands of his father.
"You were only 5 or 6 at the time and you tried to help her by dragging her into her room and onto the bed, which was a mattress on the floor."
His father, a Black Power member, was in and out of prison before he later died of cancer.
As for the offending, Henry was on a "cocktail of drugs" and couldn't recall what happened clearly.
He was in a state of paranoia at the time due to previously being attacked by a rival gang member.
He and his whānau were well entrenched with Black Power and were "the only family that you have known", the judge said.
Justice Harland said she hoped Henry would fulfill his wish - for when he was finally released from prison - to move out of the Waikato and to a brother, get away from gangs and start his life afresh.
OTHER OFFICERS PRAISED
Outside court after sentencing, Detective Inspector Daryl Smith said the incident had
horrific, ongoing effects on the officer and his family.
"It's had a huge impact, emotionally and physically on our officer ... also showed their desire for it not to be a negative outcome."
As for the impact on the wider Waikato police force, Smith said police were out there every day "doing the best they can".
"And they don't need to be put through this unacceptable, inexcusable behaviour and the message I want to put out there is that this behaviour will not be tolerated.
"The fact the officer is back and operational, was a huge medical turnaround, it's an ongoing challenge with the number of lead pellets in the officer's shoulder, that will be a challenge."
He also praised the actions of other police who attended that night - heading to Ngaruawahia to arrest Henry as he lay under bedding with his shotgun in his hands.
Asked whether officers should be armed fulltime, he said police were well-trained and dealt with incidents of a serious nature on a daily basis.