Police shoot ex-soldier dead after chase

Last updated 16:55 08/07/2013

Police examine the scene where a man was shot dead on Auckland's Northern Motorway following a 350km chase.

Police shoot man dead after chase
Police at the scene on Auckland's Northern Motorway following the chase.
Caleb Dean Henry
Facebook picture of Caleb Dean Henry posing in some of his military gear.

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A man shot dead by police in Auckland this morning was an ex-soldier, dismissed from the army for "disciplinary reasons".

Police named him this afternoon as Caleb Dean Henry, 20, of Opotiki.

Henry was a soldier in the New Zealand Army until he was dismissed last year.

"The NZ Defence Force can confirm Mr Henry was a member of the NZ Army from March 2010 until his discharge for disciplinary reasons on 18 July 2012.

"Mr Henry did not deploy on operations during his service. The NZ Defence Force will not be commenting further on this matter," a NZDF spokesperson said.

Photos on Henry's Facebook page depict him in military uniform with a number of weapons including assault rifles and knives.

In March he posted that he was selling some of his old military armour, before posting that it was a hoax aimed at drawing out the "intel geeks in Wellington".

A fixation with guns was extended on his Bebo page, where Henry had posted a poem he had written about guns.

It read:

Guns are cool. 
Guns are mean.
Guns do'nt kill people, people kill people.
Fire arms can be the cause of meany deths, but ask your self is it the fire arm or is it the person using it.A knife is like a gun in meany ways if used properly a knife can do a lot of good such as cut breed, peel potatos, cut meat but if used in a improper manner it can be used to stab other people, hold up shops for money and kill people.
it's simple as what im getting to. Meany things have the use of doing good and bad it's up to the person using it, to how it's used.

This morning Henry was killed after a shootout with three teams of armed offender squad officers.

Police said Henry led them on a 350-kilometre chase from an Opotiki farm where a couple in their 60s were stabbed during a home invasion. During the chase police were fired on three times from the moving vehicle.

Assistant Commissioner Allan Boreham said three cars of AOS officers exchanged fire with Henry as road spikes stopped the stolen ute on Auckland's northern motorway near Mairangi Bay.

"What you've got is his vehicle hard up against the left-hand side of the motorway and four police vehicles - three vehicles occupied by armed offender officers and one occupied by a dog handler.

"They're the only police I'm aware of being at that scene where the shots were exchanged," Boreham said.

He was unable to say how many shots were fired.

There was a suggestion the fatal shot could have been self-inflicted but he said the cause of death and sequence of events was part of the investigation.

"You can be reasonably sure that as a result of what occurred during the exchange of shots, he's received injuries and died," he said.

"How exactly those injuries were inflicted is still to be determined."

A pursuit of such a distance featuring exchange of gunfire from a high-powered hunting rifle was "very rare", Boreham said.

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"But it's what we train for."

Long-time Waiotahi residents Ann, 63, and Alan Looney, 66, are in Whakatane Hospital for surgery after getting deep cuts to their hands last night from a man who stole their ute and a rifle.

The couple's farm had recently been burgled and police were now investigating the link between that and the overnight drama.

Boreham said Henry's identity had been confirmed as a result of publicity following the fatal shooting.

He added that due to ongoing police inquiries at the scene, a section of the motorway would stay closed this evening. A short diversion would take northbound traffic around the scene. The rest of the motorway remained open.

The drama began at the couple's Looney Road home near Opotiki about 7.30pm.

A relative of the couple told the Whakatane Beacon he understood Alan Looney went out for firewood and returned to find his wife tied up.

Alan Looney was attacked, tied up and his ute and a firearm were stolen. He freed himself and called police.

The Looneys had lived in Opotiki almost all their lives and been married more than 30 years.

Both were stable and their injuries were not life-threatening, a Bay of Plenty District Health Board spokeswoman said.

Police said the Looneys were working with police to help establish what happened.

"Understandably both victims are in shock after this violent home invasion and police family liaison officers, victim support and the family are continuing to support them as they recover from their ordeal," Boreham, said.

Last month a Nissan farm ute was taken from the property along with petrol and diesel, chainsaws and a number of other tools and machinery.

The burglary was among one in a series of rural thefts at the time, prompting Opotiki police to urge Waiotahi residents to safeguard their homes.

Boreham said any link between those burglaries and the home invasion would be investigated.

"We will look at what has happened to the victims in the past and their relationship, if any, to the person."

The stolen vehicle was spotted on the Kaimai ranges about 10.30pm and Boreham said it was understood the offender fired shots at police vehicles in Hamilton, on the motorway in South Auckland and around the Victoria Park tunnel in central Auckland.

The car was stopped by road spikes on the motorway between Tristram Ave and Constellation Dr.

Boreham said a gunfight then took place.

Officers provided medical support until an ambulance arrived. Boreham could not confirm whether the man died at the scene or in hospital.

No members of the armed offenders squad were injured.

Boreham said three separate investigations were now taking place: The Independent Police Conduct Authority would review the matter, a homicide investigation would be carried out, and police would review practice, policy and procedure as a result of the outcome.

An autopsy was to be held today.

Boreham said the motive for the Opotiki robbery was not yet known, and police from at least three different districts would be working on the case.

"Police's first priority in any incident is to ensure the public and our officers are kept safe, and we are saddened that this has ended in tragedy," he said.

"We also have two victims who have been left hurt and traumatised, but are relieved that no-one else was injured during this fast-moving, dangerous and unpredictable situation."

- Stuff

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