Charges over Paeroa shooting

MATT BOWEN AND NICOLA BRENNAN-TUPARA
Last updated 14:49 29/05/2012
Paeroa College
Fairfax NZ

SHOT: Horrified Paeroa College students sat in shock as a classmate allegedly walked in and shot another 14-year-old three times in the head with a BB gun.

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A Paeroa College student has been charged in relation to an incident where a fellow classmate was shot between the eyes with a BB gun.

Police said they decided to charge a 14-year-old student, who appeared in Hamilton District Court today.

He faced two charges of assault with a weapon, one charge of possession of a firearm, one of unlawfully carrying an imitation firearm and one charge of presentation of an imitation firearm.

The victim was said to have watched as the student knocked a girl out of his way before allegedly pointing a BB gun at his face and shooting him between the eyes.

"He was like real angry," the teen said last night.

"He got me in the temple then I went under [the desk] and he got me in the back of the head."

The teen – whom cannot be named for legal reasons – was sitting in class about 10am when the 14-year-old allegedly strode in wearing a gang bandana – covering everything but his eyes.

In his hand was a spring-loaded replica gun.

"I thought it was a real gun because it looked like it."

As the boy pointed the gun at him, the teen sat stunned. Thinking it was loaded with bullets, his first instinct was to duck under the desk, but he wasn't quick enough with one of the plastic pellets getting him right between the eyes.

When the boy's teacher – Felise Tai'i – yelled for the boy to stop, the armed student allegedly turned the gun on him firing three to four times.

Acting quickly, Mr Tai'i "clotheslined" the attacker, taking him to ground with an outstretched arm as the boy continued to shoot the gun towards the wall.

Mr Tai'i kept the teen subdued until police arrived and took him into custody, with a stopover at Thames Hospital to ensure that the "minor" injuries he received during his struggle with the Mr Tai'i were not too serious.

Last night the victim's father was "pissed off" and distraught to see his son so upset.

"He could have lost an eye. It was a plastic gun but he had full intention to use it as a weapon. If he had real gun he could have killed someone."

The teen said his alleged attacker's aggression towards him could have stemmed from an incident last Friday in which a BB gun he'd taken to school fell out of his bag.

He claimed the student picked it up and started pointing at people and was later stood down.

However, it is understood that it is not the first instance of bad behaviour from the alleged attacker this term.

Eastern Waikato area commander Inspector Dana McDonald said the accused would appear in Hamilton Youth Court this morning.

"The actions of the teacher were highly commendable in that he put himself in harm's way to protect students in the class.

"This was one of those incidents I doubt they train you for at teachers' college."

Mr McDonald said it was not known why the student took the gun to school. That would become clearer today as they spoke to students and staff at the school.

The police would continue to work with the school and Ministry of Education to establish the course of events and the best way of supporting all of the people present at the school at the time of the incident.

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Last night Paeroa College principal Grant Aitken said he was very pleased with the "very quick" actions of the teacher involved and how calm the students in the class remained.

"They were quite sensible in their behaviour."

He wouldn't comment any more saying he was still working with the police. He was expected to put out a further statement today.

A school assembly was held following the incident to inform students and counselling would be provided if needed.

- Waikato Times

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