Police were justified in
shooting a man who attacked his pregnant partner with a
hammer and a knife, an independent inquiry has found.
Ruka Hemopo, 47, survived being shot by police with a Glock
pistol and a Taser stun gun during a domestic incident in the
Porirua suburb of Waitangirua on May 2.
The Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) today cleared
the officers involved, finding they were justified in using
force to stop the attack.
Police were called to a house on Penguin Grove about 5.30am
by a woman who reported her pregnant sister was being
attacked with a hammer.
They arrived to find the victim's sister, who had fled the
house, standing outside with what looked like a knife cut to
The severity of her injuries confirmed police's decision to
enter the house immediately.
Two officers drew their weapons and approached the house
while a third officer waited outside with the sister.
Both officers called out for Hemopo to show himself, but he
remained in a bedroom and yelled out: "Get f***ed."
The officers then forced open the bedroom door to find Hemopo
clutching a knife, with his pregnant partner crouching
Fearing he would stab his partner, the officers opened fire
simultaneously with a Taser and a Glock pistol.
Hemopo received a gunshot wound to the back and fell to the
ground, dropping his knife.
The officers handcuffed him, snapped off the Taser wires and
carried out first aid until an ambulance arrived.
Hemopo, also known as Duane Thomas Makatea, survived the
gunshot wound. He remains in custody on charges relating to
IPCA chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said the whole
incident, from the time police said they were entering the
property to the time shots were fired, took about one minute.
He said police were justified in shooting Hemopo.
"The police officers involved faced a complex, high-pressured
and quickly-evolving situation. Despite this, they followed
policy in all respects," Sir David said.
The IPCA also released its findings today on a fatal police
pursuit in Hamilton earlier this year.
Rocky Joe Kohatu Hepi, 17, was killed when the stolen Nissan
Maxima he was driving crashed into a stone retaining wall on
Baverstock Rd, Nawton.
A 14-year-old boy in the front passenger seat suffered
serious injuries, while a 15-year-old girl passenger suffered
The IPCA found police did not breach its policies relating to
Police gave chase after they noticed the stolen car driving
with its lights off along Rotokauri Rd about 1.48am on
Suspecting the driver was drunk, the officer signalled for
the car to stop. However, it accelerated away and began to
drive erratically due to its speed.
The officer pursued the car for 43 seconds, along 1.1km of
road, before abandoning the chase due to the Nissan's unsafe
As the officer drove slowly over a rise, he saw the stolen
car lose control and crash into the wall at the corner of
Baverstock Rd and Wexford Rise.
Sir David found the officer complied with police's fleeing
driver policy, including its policy on speed and the manner
of driving. The officer did not exceed 90km/h during the
"It was a tragic incident caused by the actions of Mr Hepi
that resulted in his death and caused serious injury to one
of his two passengers," Sir David commented.
"In this instance the authority has not found any breach of
police policy however, the authority is continuing its
discussions with police about a general review of policies
connected with the pursuit of fleeing drivers."