Family of gunman apologises

The family of Burnside gunman Shayne Richard Sime has apologised to everyone affected by his Sunday night rampage in which more than 100 shots were fired from his home before police shot him dead.

A friend of the family, Ann Hicks, read a statement from the Sime family at a press conference at the Christchurch Central Police Station this afternoon.

She said Sime had been a much loved member of the family, a loving son, brother, father to his two sons, and a good person.

"We loved him and will miss him," she read. "We do wish to recognise and apologise to the people who were hurt and everyone else affected in the last few days."

She said Sime had head trauma when he was 24 which caused him to develop a special disorder which over time wasted his muscles to the point where he was confined to a wheelchair.

"His cheeky sense of humour was instrumental in giving him the strength to overcome that diversity," she said.

Before his accident he was a fisherman who loved his work, and he did karate to near black-belt level.

After the accident he continued working out at the gymnasium, particularly the facilities at Burwood Hospital and the family acknowledged the hospital's support over the years.

He and his mother were in regular contact by texts and visits. She last saw him on Friday.

Superintendent Brett Kane from Police National Headquarters said the post mortem examination on Sime's body was continuing and there were no preliminary results yet.

"The scene examination is continuing and we expect that to take some time because of the complex nature of the scene," he said.

Forty police staff would remain on the inquiry for the rest of this week.

"The investigation is into the culpability of all parties involved, including the actions of the police," he said.

Sime was the holder of a firearms licence. He was granted the licence in 2006 after appropriate inquiries had been made.

Police recognised that he did have criminal convictions but they dated back to the 1980s and the last was in 1990. They were mainly alcohol or driving-related, and he was 23 years old at the time of the last conviction.

He applied for the firearms licence when he was 39.

Police had been called to the property in Wadhurst Place, Burwood, in February but it turned out that Sime had been shooting at a cardboard target, firing pellets from his son's BB gun. No action was taken.

The licence issued in 2006 was for 10 years. Under the category A licence, Sime was allowed to own weapons of the type he had, as long as he had appropriate security.

Mr Kane said the police would investigate the suggestion that the Sunday night incident was "suicide by cop". Some threats had been made to the police throughout the event.

He could not say if there had been a "trigger" for the incident.

"There is nothing significant known at this stage."

About 5pm, Sime was drinking alcohol with a friend, but the friend was gone when the incident began.

Police have found three weapons at the house - two shotguns and the high-powered .308 calibre rifle - and were now investigating whether all three had been used on Sunday night. They knew shots had been fired from a shotgun and rifle.

Some residents have not yet been allowed to return to their homes.

"We are trying to expedite the examination of this scene as quickly as possible, but we have got to do a thorough and professional job," said Mr Kane.

The inquiry was not just confined to Wadhurst Place. Police have found that shots had hit a house and kindergarten in nearby Guildford Street.

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