Authority finds police justified in shooting an armed Kerepehi man

Police at the scene of the 2014 shooting of an armed Kerepehi man who threatened to shoot his partner and police (FILE).
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Police at the scene of the 2014 shooting of an armed Kerepehi man who threatened to shoot his partner and police (FILE).

Two police officers were justified in shooting a Kerepehi man who held a sawn-off shotgun to his partner's head and threatened to kill her and the police, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has found. 

Shane Roger Stuart was shot numerous times when he pointed a rifle at police during the 2014 incident.

He survived but suffered several serious injuries as a result.  

The car driven by the shot man at the scene on  State Highway 2, Kerepehi.
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The car driven by the shot man at the scene on State Highway 2, Kerepehi.

The Authority completed its investigation into this incident in October 2015, but delayed the release of its public report until after the conclusion of related court proceedings in March 2017.

Stuart was sentenced to eight years, nine months in jail over the incident and was ordered to serve at least half of that before being eligible for parole.

The drama unfolded at 9.49pm on October 21, 2014, when the man's partner called police and told them that the man had held a sawn-off shotgun to her head and threatened to shoot her.

The man had a history of assaulting police, drug use, carrying a knife, and unlawfully carrying firearms.

Local officers were were first on the scene in Kerepehi, a small Waikato town, with the Waikato Armed Offenders Squad (AOS) and Police Negotiation Team (PNT) en route.

Police were in contact with the man's partner who told them that he had a bulletproof vest and would shoot police if he saw them.

An hour later, police were informed by the man's partner that they would drive to Ngatea and that he was still armed. 

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The police set up road spikes which disabled the man's car on Kerepehi Town Rd.

Two AOS told the man to put his arms up, but he pointed a rifle towards the officers and was subsequently shot.

The two officers fired a total of seven shots at the man, incapacitating him.

"The two officers who fired shots at the man were justified in doing so because he posed a very real threat of death or serious bodily harm to them and other nearby officers", Authority Chair, Judge Sir David Carruthers, said in the written IPCA decision. 

"When the man pointed his rifle at the officers, other tactical options were not viable or appropriate.

"Police responded appropriately to this incident as it developed and provided all reasonable assistance to the man after he was shot."

In accepting the findings of the report, Waikato Police District Commander, Superintendent Greg Nicholls, said his staff were confronted with a very difficult situation that day.

"The man was directed to step out of the car and put his hands in the air," Nicholls said.

"Instead, he got out and pointed a rifle towards the two officers and they feared they were going to be shot.

"The officers did not want to shoot the man and other tactical options were considered, but given the risk he posed, they were left with no other option."

 

 - Stuff

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