'Menacing element' moves in, then woman shot in Te Aroha

AARON LEAMAN
Last updated 05:00 16/12/2013

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Neighbours of a Te Aroha woman critically injured in a weekend shooting say a "menacing element" had recently moved into their quiet street.

A 19-year-old woman remains in a critical condition in Waikato Hospital with serious gunshot wounds to her chest and leg after she was shot at a Russell Ave house on Saturday afternoon.

Police declined to name the victim but said the shooting was a tragic reminder of the need to lock firearms away.

A 16-year-old male and 21-year-old man will appear in Hamilton courts today charged over the shooting.

The teen faces a charge of wounding with reckless disregard and unlawful possession of ammunition, while the older man is charged with unlawful possession of a pistol.

The weatherboard house where the shooting happened was still cordoned off midday yesterday as police and forensic staff completed a scene examination.

The house is located near the Te Aroha Club and is situated down a long, unsealed driveway.

Eastern Waikato area investigations manager Detective Senior Sergeant Graham Pitkethley said early indications suggested the shooting was accidental.

Both arrested men were known to the victim, he said.

"The only way to prevent tragedies such as this from occurring is by ensuring firearms are only used by firearms licence holders or under their direct supervision, and always treat them as loaded."

A Russell Ave resident, who declined to be named, told the Waikato Times he heard a "commotion" on the street about 1pm and went out to his letterbox to see police cars and an ambulance parked nearby.

"Later they had a police car at either end of the street so nobody could get in and out, it was like a lock-down," he said.

"This is a great little street but we're no different to any other small town, we have our problems.

"I would say there has been a menacing element, so to speak, move into the street over the last wee while.

"You see these young guys walking up and down the street at all hours."

The shooting victim has not been formally named but one teen identified her as Tamara Pourau.

The teen said she was friends with Ms Pourau's family and described her as "a good girl".

"I don't know her well but her family are good people," she said.

"They like to have a few drinks on the weekend but we all do.

"But they're respectful of other people and don't have big parties or anything during the week."

Another resident said she had noticed a lot of youth in the area during the past two months and had heard reports some had been carrying knives.

"It used to be such a lovely street, and it is a lovely street, but hearing these sorts of things does make you feel intimidated," she said.

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- Waikato Times

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