31 Aug 2009

Shooting victim named, man charged with murder

11:33 am on 31 August 2009

Police have named the man who was fatally shot at Waikoau in northern Hawke's Bay on Sunday.

He was Layden Thomas Rameka, 32, who had moved to the small rural settlement from Auckland about three weeks ago.

Wilson Apatu, 39, was arrested on Sunday night and has been charged with murder, attempted murder and aggravated robbery.

Mr Rameka's son, Zepplen-Solly Rameka, 8, is in a comfortable condition in the children's ward of Hawke's Bay Hospital after treatment for a gunshot wound to his arm.

Police say Wilson Apatu was found at a house in Clive just before 11.30pm on Sunday after family member contacted police. The 39-year-old gave himself up when armed officers arrived.

A resident of Waikoau, who has asked to remain anonymous, told Radio New Zealand he'd spoken to Wilson Apatu by phone shortly before the shooting.

He said he tried to raise the alarm. "I rung the people and warned them, (I said) lock your doors, get the kids, get everybody inside, and they thought I was joking."

He then went to the property and was with the shot man when he died.

"I held his hand while he died bro, it was a terrible, terrible situation," the resident said.

The dead man, whose wife had family in the community, had only moved from Auckland to the area with his children about three weeks ago, a resident said.

Road blocks were set up during the police search on Sunday on State Highway 2 between Napier and Wairoa, and on two side roads off State Highway 5 between Napier and Taupo. Two Armed Offenders Squads were involved in the search.

Police earlier said a man had fled the scene in his own car, which crashed, and had allegedly held up a couple at gunpoint and took their car.

Rex Bullock, who lives on Waikoau Rd, told Morning Report he heard a car crash on Saturday afternoon and went to help.

The car had landed on its roof, which was squashed almost to the top of the seats, but the man inside was climbing out and had only a small cut to his head, he says.

Mr Bullock says a couple, who had their car taken, were shaken up.