20 Apr 2020

Machete-wielding man shot dead by police in Papatoetoe

From Checkpoint, 5:28 pm on 20 April 2020

An Auckland local living near the scene of a fatal police shooting overnight heard screaming and yelling, before a man taunting neighbours to call the police was killed.

Police said the man, who was holding a machete, smashed a terrified family's windows and tried to go inside their house. He also damaged cars, letterboxes and powerlines, they said.

Forensic teams and investigators were at the scene today on the residential Central Ave in Papatoetoe.

Less than 100 metres away from where it all happened, Raghubir Rehan was woken by loud noises and yelling cutting through the stillness of the night.

"I heard lots of smashing [of] car and maybe house windows. In the meantime he was screaming," Rehan said, noting the man sounded like he was under the influence of something.

It was about 1am by then. He said the man was abusing neighbours who had woken up.

"He was yelling and screaming 'f*** off and f*** you' and all that. 'Whoever wants to complain to the police, who cares about the police'."

He said an officer arrived and things quickly escalated.

"I heard they were arguing between each other, and within two minutes there were two shots," Rehan said.

The man died at the scene despite being given medical help straight away.

Today the entire street was cordoned off with various police staff including detectives and forensics ducking under the tape throughout the morning.

They were focusing on two or three different locations, all near houses, on a single side of the street. Power line repair crews were also there.

Very few residents were stepping outside at all, and a hearse left the street about midday.

Counties Manukau district commander Superintendent Jill Rogers said police had 13 calls from distressed residents in a matter of minutes.

"These calls reported that he had been chopping at powerlines, mailboxes, and we received one really distressed call from a family in their own home when he smashed windows and tried to enter that address," Rogers said.

Rogers said the officer first on the scene was a dog handler who tried to speak with the man, but he continued to move towards them with the knife in hand.

"This is an incident that has unfolded extremely rapidly, over in a couple of minutes. He has called upon him to drop the weapon; he hasn't done so and has been shot."

Rogers confirmed the officer fired two shots, and that the man was given immediate medical assistance.

She was asked if she was confident the officer had done everything they could before shooting.

"We support our officers every day to make good decisions. This has been an incredibly dynamic and rapidly unfolding situation and we have sadly been left with the outcome we have today."

Rogers said Armed Response Teams were not involved.

Police have launched two investigations into the shooting and notified the Independent Police Conduct Authority.