Otatara shooting: 'He was out of control'

Armed police officers stop traffic at the intersection of Dunns and Otatara Rds on the outskirts...
Armed police officers stop traffic at the intersection of Dunns and Otatara Rds on the outskirts of Invercargill. Photo by Allison Beckham.

Police have named the man who is believed to have shot a female relative before shooting himself at an Otatara address last night.

He is Kevin Johnston (29), of Invercargill.

A police forensics unit and officers were this morning in the Invercargill suburb where Johnston was found dead late last night.

Police suspect he suffered a self-inflicted injury and his death has been referred to the Coroner.

"I would like to again thank the Otatara community for their co-operation and patience while police attended the incident last night," said area commander Inspector Joel Lamb.

"Our thoughts are with the family at this difficult time."

Police confirmed a 50-year-old woman was the only other person injured in the incident.

She remained in a serious but stable condition in Dunedin Hospital following the shooting, which happened about 6.30pm yesterday.


Social media linked the pair as mother and son but police have not confirmed that, saying only that they were related.

Several vehicles arrived and left the Otatara address during the morning. They appeared to be private vehicles rather than unmarked police cars.

Last night, police set up cordons in the rural Invercargill suburb, saying they were searching for Johnston.

Police said in a statement they were not looking for anyone else in relation to the shooting.

The injured woman was taken to Southland Hospital before being flown by helicopter to Dunedin Hospital.

Initial reports said the woman was shot outside the Otatara Four Square store, on Dunns Rd, but the owner, who did not want to be named, said this morning that was not true.

The incident had happened somewhere on Dunns Rd but he did not know where.

The man's body was found at an Otatara Rd address, one of four houses accessed from a private driveway. It is about 1.5km from the store.

A neighbour said he knew Johnston but did not know anything about a woman living at or visiting the property.

He operated a property maintenance company and owned his home, the neighbour said.

Mr Johnston had lived there for about a year.

The neighbour, who did not want to give his name, said he saw Kevin running down the driveway about 12.15pm on Tuesday.

He continued to run along Otatara Rd towards Dunns Rd.

"He dropped his socks just by the gate, and then took his shirt off. He ran off wearing three quarter pants and nothing else.... He was out of control.''

The neighbours said he saw the man again, about 1pm, about 6km away at the Stead St reserve on the outskirts of Invercargill.

Later in the evening he read about the shooting on Facebook and telephoned the police to tell them what he had seen earlier in the day.

He said he did not hear any arguments or gunshots during the day or evening.

Where to get help

Lifeline: 0800 543-354

Depression Helpline (8am-midnight): 0800 111-757

Healthline: 0800 611-116

Samaritans: 0800 211-211

Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828-865

Youthline: 0800 376-633, free text 234 or email talk@youthline.co.nz

Rural Support Trust: 0800 787-254

- additional reporting New Zealand Herald

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