A dairy owner fought off knife-wielding robbers by shooting one in the face with an air pistol, saying if he had not acted he would have been killed.
The Chinese owner said he armed himself after a liquor store owner was murdered in South Auckland in June.
The Christchurch dairy owner, called Nike, said the two robbers, one carrying a large knife, went into his store in Wainoni Rd about 8.30pm on Monday.
One ran at him and slashed at the air near his throat and chest, then backed him up against a cigarette rack, so Nike's wife handed him the air pistol.
Nike fired it five or six times, hitting one of the robbers.
"I definitely shot one of them in the face.
"Usually in the movies they say 'Give me the money' but they tried to kill us from the very start. It happened really fast. They ran in holding the knife out and started trying to chop me."
After he shot the man, the pair tried to leave "immediately". The robbers took the cash register but it contained only small coins. Nike suspected the men were on drugs as "normal people don't act like that".
"We would never have used [the gun] if they weren't so threatening. They were frantic." New Brighton police said Nike's actions were "certainly not good practice". Police advice was to comply with robbers and "get them in and out as quick as possible".
Nike said the police had taken his air pistol.
Police said they were "discussing" whether Nike's actions would have further repercussions.
"Whether or not he managed to hit anyone, I don't know, but he certainly did (use the pistol)," Detective Constable Matt Grant, of New Brighton police, said.
Asked if the dairy owner would face charges, Mr Grant said he did not know.
"It's still at an inquiry stage at the moment, we're still working on the robbery," he said.
Mr Grant warned against people emulating the dairy owner's actions.
"I don't want other people to think it's okay to do what this gentleman has done," he said.
"Certainly we discourage what he's done.
"We encourage a practice of compliance and for people in that situation just to get the offenders out of the shop as soon as possible without any damage or harm to anyone," Mr Grant said.
- with NZPA
- The Press