Caleb Dean Henry. Photo Facebook
The former soldier shot dead by police on an Auckland
motorway after a violent home invasion and dramatic pursuit
over more than 360km was on the phone to officers as he drove -
and wanted to visit his grandfather's grave, says a family
Caleb Dean Henry (20) died after a shootout on the northern
motorway with police just after 2am yesterday.
It is understood he spoke on a cellphone to police during the
pursuit from the Kaimai Ranges to Takapuna and told them he
wanted to speak to a family member "to say goodbye".
His uncle, William Henry, told the New Zealand Herald last
night that the family believed Henry was trying to drive to
his grandfather's grave in Kaikohe.
"He was going one place and that was home, that's where his
grandfather is buried."
Henry was estranged from his father, and his maternal
grandfather filled that role.
"He was closer than me - and that's my father," he said. "He
passed away about eight years ago, and that had a big effect
Henry made no secret of his love of guns during his time in
the army - on his Bebo page he posted photographs of himself
in his army gear with firearms and wrote: "Guns are cool.
Guns are mean. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.
Firearms can be the cause of many deaths, but ask yourself is
it the firearm or is it the person using it?
"Many things have the use of doing good and bad it's up to
the person using it, to how it's used. Please take care when
around or using any type of firearm."
Recently he commented on a photograph on Facebook of himself
armed with a rifle.
"As long as I'm on that side of the weapon I'm safe and
whoever is on the other side is everything but," he wrote.
The Herald can reveal that Henry had warrants out for his
arrest, and was wanted in relation to the fraudulent use of
documents. The warrants were issued in the Gisborne District
Court, but charges had not been laid against Henry.
The 20-year-old joined the army in March 2010, and spent time
in Christchurch after the February 2011 earthquake.
Yesterday a New Zealand Defence Force spokesman confirmed
Henry's service, and said he was discharged on July 18 last
year for "disciplinary reasons". He had not been on overseas
operations during his service.
Mr Henry said his nephew had dreamed of "being a GI Joe and
defending his country".
But he noticed a difference in him after he left the service.
"Something went wrong and now this has happened. As far as
the family are concerned, if he wants to play with guns, this
is what happens - there's no playing action games."
The shootout drama started on Sunday evening, after Henry
allegedly forced his way into the home of Opotiki couple Alan
Looney, 66, and his wife Anne, 63.
The couple's hands were slashed and they were tied up before
their attacker fled in their Ford Ranger with a rifle and a
Toxicology testing was done during a post mortem examination
yesterday to establish whether Henry was under the influence
of drugs or alcohol when he died.
Police would not discuss phone calls between Henry and them.
Henry had fired shots at police at least three times between
the Kaimai Ranges and the northern motorway, where he was
stopped by road spikes. He continued to shoot from the
vehicle at police, who returned fire. It is not known where
Henry was hit, or how many shots police fired.
Assistant Commissioner Alan Boreham said police "displayed
considerable skill and judgment in resolving this incident
without anyone else getting hurt".
As they pursued Henry, they ensured service stations were
closed and traffic lights in their path were kept green to
prevent any members of the public becoming involved in the
"Police's first priority in any incident is to ensure the
public and our officers are kept safe, and we are saddened
for all of the families involved that this has ended in
tragedy," said Mr Boreham.
"We also have two victims who have been left hurt and
traumatised, but are very relieved that no one else was
Mr and Mrs Looney had surgery yesterday for hand injuries. A
neighbour told the Herald they had been "sliced" and had
The Looneys are one of Opotiki's oldest families, having
lived in the area since 1902.
The couple oversee a dairy operation at Waiotahi, while
family members run another farm at Tirau.
The driveway to their hill-top home and other entrances were
under police guard yesterday.
Mr Looney and his wife were described as "good-living people"
by his brother, who asked not to be named.
He told the Herald how he heard about the home invasion on
the radio before learning who the victims were.
Another brother in Hamilton phoned him at 6am with the news.
"He said, have you heard what happened? I said yes, I've just
been listening to the radio, and he said, yeah that was my
brother ... it was Alan."