Police shooting still unresolved a year on

TRACEY CHATTERTON
Last updated 05:00 24/07/2014

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Police accidentally fired their guns eight times between 2010 and 2013 - but it is still unclear what caused them to accidentally shoot a Hastings man during an arrest last year.

Police and the Independent Police Conduct Authority are still investigating how Iriheke Te Kani Pere was shot in the back.

The armed offenders squad was sent to a house in Karamu Rd on August 16 after Pere's family reported concerns about his behaviour. He is alleged to have pointed a firearm at his mother in the days leading up to the incident.

Pere was known to police and had been treated by Hawke's Bay mental health services. He has more than 30 convictions, including arson, assault, robbery and escaping police custody. Four years earlier he was arrested after claiming he had a bomb on a public bus in Napier.

Pere, 33 at the time, was called out of the house. He lay face down on the lawn and was restrained by police.

He was being helped to his feet when a police officer's Bushmaster rifle discharged. Pere spent several weeks in Wellington Hospital recovering.

The officer involved has since returned to work on restricted duties, and was stood down from the armed offenders squad.

The shooting of Pere was one of eight accidental discharges between 2010 and 2013, figures released under the Official Information Act reveal.

Two happened at a police station, while five were in a training environment, acting deputy commissioner for resource management Dave Cliff said.

In one incident, a tired officer let off a shot when failing to unload a firearm properly, while negligent storage and a slow response to a missing firearm were revealed in two other investigations.

A faulty batch of ammunition was withdrawn nationally after another accidental discharge. Cliff said there was no evidence of operator error, and the matter was taken up with the manufacturer.

In two cases, officers were given extra training to show there was no risk with deployment, Cliff said.

Figures also reveal that 11 members of the public were shot by police carrying out their duties between 2010 and 2013. They included Lachan Kelly-Tumarae, 19, who led police on a 16-kilometre car chase in March 2011 before aiming a shotgun at the three officers pursuing him.

A Hawke's Bay officer fired 14 bullets, four of which hit and fatally wounded Kelly-Tumarae.

Months later, a police officer shot David Taite near Otane, leaving him a paraplegic. Taite had his right hand inside his sweatshirt and said he had a gun. It was later found to be a whisky bottle.

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William Robert Hartley was shot by police in 2011 after threatening officers with a loaded gun. He suffered hand and arm injuries during his arrest in Otaki.

Last year, Ruka Te Pono Hemopo, 47, survived being shot in the back and tasered when threatening a pregnant woman with a knife at Porirua house.

Burglar Adam Te Rata Charles Morehu, 33, was shot and killed after shots were fired at police at the New Plymouth Golf Club in June 2013.

- The Dominion Post

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