Fourth fatality shocks community

CIARA PRATT AND JULIAN RAETHEL
Last updated 14:00 10/06/2014

Two boys being questioned by police

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Boy charged with shopkeeper's murder Scene of stabbing in Henderson Two boys being questioned by police

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Four homicides in three weeks.

The people of West Auckland are used to weathering a few storms, but these frightening statistics have people wondering just what is going on.

A shocked West Auckland business community is reeling after yet another violent death in its midst today.

Two boys - aged 12 and 13 - are being spoken to by police in relation to the fatal stabbing of a dairy owner in Henderson.

Police were called to Railside Dairy on Great North Road, at 7.30am after reports of an aggravated robbery.

The owner 57-year-old Arun Kumar was stabbed in the neck in front of his wife and died at the scene despite the efforts of ambulance staff.

The cordoned off scene of this morning's stabbing is just 50 metres away from Norcross Fishing World where staff members were attacked by a man with a knife in 2005 and an elderly passerby was knifed to death a few minutes later.

And 50 metres in the opposite direction is the former dentist's office torn apart by a deliberate explosion in 2007. The blast killed a woman and left two people injured.

Today's death also comes just a few weeks after a fatal double stabbing at nearby Pooks Rd and a fatal shooting at Luanda Drive, both in Ranui.

For Norcross Fishing World owner Robert Norcross, today's stabbing didn't result in flashbacks. 

''That's just life. I'm just sad, really sad for the gentleman at the dairy. He's just a lovely guy going about his business, trying to earn a living.''

Norcross was stabbed while in his store during the 2005 incident.

He has worked on Railside Ave for 42 years and believes something needs to change for Henderson, and for business owners. 

''We've weathered a few storms here.

''We need more security but you'd have to have constant surveillance and then we'd become a police state.

"The majority of the people here are very good people but there is a small minority - a youth minority - that intimidate and create problems here.''

Stephen owns a dairy down the road from today's stabbing and is now worried what will happen to his shop.

''About three weeks ago, there was an attempted burglary on my shop. They didn't get in though. 

''This street has two dairies. Now that this guy has been hit, I'm scared - what will happen to me?''

Small crowds began to gather this morning at the sight of more sirens, another blue tarpaulin and more police tape. 

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Questions like ''what is in the water in West Auckland?'' are beginning to circulate by worried residents both on the street and online. 

And there is one common answer, ''it's just the wild west''. 

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse is friends with one of the dental nurses from the practice that suffered the deliberate explosion in 2007.

Hulse says these erratic crimes frighten people the most but it doesn't represent the true spirit of the community and the police foot patrols are doing what they can to stifle the ''underbelly'' of activity.

''Henderson has struggled a bit for the same reasons other centres struggle, it hasn't had an easy ride.

"People have been reluctant to invest in the main street but council has tried to keep the investment going.

''Walking down the main street you see all the good stuff and some of the things you don't want to see.

''This morning's incident is an isolated one but we need to stay on top of things like intimidation and stand-over tactics.''

Fellow Waitakere councillor Linda Cooper believes in challenging times like this, the West Auckland community bands together.

''In West Auckland we have a mixed community - we are close to services, public transport and have cheaper accommodation.

''But we don't expect these things to happen, they are horrible, random incidents.''

Cooper said she's satisfied police are working the beat regularly in Henderson and they've seen a drop in loitering since the sale of synthetic highs were banned.

- Stuff

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