A week after two Dunedin children were shot dead, a
Waipori resident is concerned Dunedin police did not respond to
a 111 call following dozens of .22-calibre rifle shots in a
residential area, early yesterday morning.
Dunedin police have defended the ''balancing act'' and
subsequent decision not to respond saying no spare Dunedin
staff were available, on what was a busy morning, and
unusually, no Mosgiel police were on roster.
Waipori resident of three years Richard Mathias said he was
woken about 2.45am yesterday to .22 calibre shots in Waipori
Falls Rd, and later one shotgun blast.
The .22 shot out two street lamps and a fence was peppered by
the shotgun blast.
Mr Mathias later collected 45 .22 calibre casings and
photographed the fence and other damage.
He called 111 about 2.45am and 41 minutes later was contacted
by Dunedin police and told his was the only 111 call, and
that police did not have a car to dispatch.
''Really, if this was Outram [a larger township] it would
have have been an AOS [armed offenders squad] callout,
especially after events in Dunedin recently,'' he said of
last week's killing of Ellen (6) and Bradley (9) Livingstone
by their father Edward Livingstone, in St Leonards, with a
While he understood the likelihood of Dunedin police being
busy at 2.45am on a Sunday morning in the city, Mr Mathias
believed a firearms incident merited a response, and
contacted the ODT with his concerns yesterday.
Senior Sergeant Kelvin Lloyd, of Dunedin, when contacted,
verified the call times, the 111 being made at 2.47am, and
said the duty sergeant had to decide on the ''balancing
act'', of whether there were gains to be achieved from
attending the incident, and collecting evidence.
''He [Mr Mathias] did a great job, advising on what he had
seen ... reported four to five shots, but didn't have a
description of a vehicle or offender,'' Snr Sgt Lloyd said.
It was ''rare'' Mosgiel did not have an officer and vehicle
on roster, which ''would have been sent immediately'', while
city police ''only have a finite amount of staff and it was a
busy night in town''.
''It's the judgement call of the supervisor at the time,
especially at that distance and [staff] availability ... or
the ability to apprehend an offender,'' Snr Sgt Lloyd said.
Mr Mathias said the shots went on for about 10 minutes and
several ricocheted around his house, before ''several
people'', including one female, drove off, in what may have
been a Toyota Hilux. He then went outside, but was unable to
get a car registration.
''It was so surreal there was no response. It was a very
serious incident,'' Mr Mathias said.
He said had people been out walking, or there been families
camping, the bullets could have gone astray in the darkness,
including into unseen, darkened homes along the road.
''How do I get a response, when I say they are now shooting
[directly] at my home?'' Mr Mathias asked. He said a
neighbour, without a telephone, thought his vehicle and house
were being shot at.