9 Oct 2008

Family blame police for store owner's death

7:23 am on 9 October 2008

The family of a slain liquor store owner in South Auckland say police are as much to blame for his death as the person who shot him.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority confirmed it has received a complaint from the family of Navtej Singh, 30, who was shot dead in Manurewa during an armed robbery in June this year.

Questions have previously been raised about why it took the police nearly half an hour, and paramedics even longer, to respond to an emergency call after the shooting.

The Auckland Sikh Society says Mr Singh's family wants to know why it took police so long to respond.

Chairman Ajit Singh Randhawa said on Wednesday that in their eyes, the police are as much to blame for Mr Singh's death as the person who pulled the trigger.

"(The family) kept screaming for emergency services, and they could hear the police and the ambulances while life was ebbing away from this young man. And he lay there for almost 40 minutes before the emergency services picked him up.

"That is something that has upset the community and something that the family cannot come to terms with."

Mr Randhawa says the complaint to the police watchdog was lodged three weeks ago and an investigation is under way.

Three men have been charged in connection with Mr Singh's death and will re-appear in court next year.