Cop feared for life before shooting teen

A police officer who fired 14 shots in the fatal shooting of a Hastings teenager believed he and his fellow officers would die in a barrage of gun fire, a coroner's court has heard.

The officer gave dramatic evidence this morning in Hastings District Count on day-two of an inquest into the death of Lachan Kelly-Tumarae, 19, who was killed in a 14-shot police volley on March 28, 2011.

The shooting came as Mr Kelly-Tumarae exited a vehicle near a State Highway 50 marae cemetery, following a 14km low-speed pursuit from Napier after aiming a shotgun at police.

The policeman, known only as officer six, gave evidence this morning hidden from the public with his voice distorted amid fears for the officers' safety and that of their families.

He said he saw Mr Kelly-Tumarae exit the vehicle and aim the shotgun at two police officers, looking like a "Mexican bandoleer".

"He looked like he meant business and wanted to kill whoever was in the vehicle," officer six said.

"I'm going to see brains coming out the other side of the vehicle."

Officer six stepped out of the car and shouted "armed police" before Mr Kelly-Tumarae turned to face him.

"The barrel was pointed in my direction and I thought he was going to shoot me. I thought I was going to wear it."

The officer then, believing he was about to be attacked, fired "four to five" rounds in quick succession at Mr Kelly-Tumarae.

"I thought, 'He's still standing and still facing me. I haven't hit him'."

The officer then fired another five or so shots before Mr Kelly-Tumarae ran towards the cemetery before dropping the gun and collapsing.

"I wanted to dominate him, I wanted to be aggressive and wanted to go home at night."

After walking towards Mr Kelly-Tumarae he said the teenager looked "white as a sheet" and "dead".

Mr Kelly-Tumarae's grandmother, Narina Tumarae, yesterday gave the court an insight into the behaviour of her grandson the night he was killed.

"He had a nice smile on his face - all he said was, 'You alright nan, what are you doing'."

She believed her grandson went to bed after returning home and was unaware, until informed by police, he had left the house and taken off with her late husband's shotgun, ammunition and her car.

"I've been trying to run it through my head, why? I've never seen him touch that gun or use that gun before."

Last year the Independent Police Conduct Authority released its 94-page report into the early-morning shooting at Omahu.

The report found a Hawkes Bay policeman's 14-shot volley, which killed Mr Kelly-Tumarae, was justified because of the threats to the officer's own safety.

Investigations revealed the officer fired 14 shots, four wounding the teenager and another appearing to have passed through Mr Kelly-Tumarae's clothing without causing injury. The other nine bullets did not appear to have hit him or his clothing.

The inquest continues.

 

ODT/directory - Local Businesses

CompanyLocationBusiness Type
Smiths City LtdOamaruHomeware
Dunedin RSADunedinMembers Clubs
Hayes Engineering WorksYour TownRetail Engineering
McKenzie & Willis LtdDunedinHome Furnishings