Shooting of activist ‘an isolated incident’

Police say the shooting which seriously injured a former Green Party candidate was an isolated incident, despite it being the fourth Dunedin firearms incident in two months.

The victim has been named as Dunedin activist Jack Brazil, an environmental and social justice campaigner who contested the Dunedin electorate in the 2020 election for the Green Party.

At the time, he ranked number 20 on the party’s list.

A police spokeswoman said Mr Brazil had been seriously injured in the shooting and was in a stable condition yesterday afternoon.

Otago regional councillor Alan Somerville, who stood on a Green Party ticket, said his thoughts were with Mr Brazil’s family and friends.

He did not know anything else about the circumstances of the shooting, other than what was already been reported and that Mr Brazil had been involved.

"I just hope he’s going to be OK," Mr Somerville said.

While Mr Brazil had run for the Green Party last election, he had not put himself forward for candidacy for this year, Mr Somerville said.

Environmental activist and former Green Party leadership challenger James Cockle said hearing about the incident was "absolutely heartbreaking".

"We’re all thinking of him and our hearts go out to him," Mr Cockle said.

He was not sure of the nature of the incident, only that Mr Brazil had been taken to hospital.

Emergency services were called to Yours, a cafe and venue operated by the Ōtepoti Possibilities Co-operative in Moray Pl, at 3.05am on Sunday.

Mr Brazil is listed as a shareholder of the co-op.

A person affiliated with Yours told the Otago Daily Times on Sunday Mr Brazil drove himself to the space after being shot in the liver. He called for an ambulance but ended up getting a ride to hospital after flagging down a passing car.

A witness said the armed offenders squad raided the premises about an hour later.

The space remained cordoned off while police investigated it yesterday.

Ōtepoti Possibilities Co-operative director Carl Naus said nothing at Yours had been damaged in the police raid or removed in the subsequent investigations.

The space was used as a refuge because Mr Brazil felt safe there, Mr Naus said.

The space is understood to be otherwise unconnected to the shooting.

Mr Brazil has long been involved in environmental and antifacist activism, including taking part in coal train blockades, pro-trans rights demonstrations and anti-phosphate actions.

He was involved in the opening of Yours at a ceremony in December, telling The Star the collective’s aim at the space was to welcome people from all walks of life and add value to society.

Detective Senior Sergeant Nik Leigh, of Dunedin, said work to understand the circumstances of the incident were ongoing.

While no arrests had been made, police were following positive lines of inquiry, he said.

Police were aware such events were very unsettling for the Dunedin community.

"We want to reassure Dunedin residents that we believe this is an isolated incident," Det Snr Sgt Leigh said.

Investigators wanted to hear from anyone who had information that could help police.

The shooting follows three other firearms incidents in Dunedin since the start of March.

On March 3, a man sparked an eight-hour rooftop standoff with armed police after allegedly threatening to shoot officers while wielding an imitation firearm.

A search of his vehicle revealed a .308 firearm and various bladed weapons, police said.

He was charged with unlawfully having a firearm, possession of an offensive weapon and unlawfully getting into a vehicle.

A week later, on March 10, a shotgun was allegedly fired from one car to another in Thomas Burns St.

Armed police searched the wrong home later that afternoon, but four days later arrested a 25-year-old man who has been charged with attempted murder.

Three shots from a .22 calibre firearm were fired in Manor Pl last Monday and a 44-year-old man was arrested later that day.

He has since appeared in court and was charged with discharging a firearm to intimidate. An accomplice remains at large.

- Police 105, file number 230416/0114, Crime Stoppers 0800 555 111.


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