4 May 2015

Man shot by police fired first - witness

4:24 pm on 4 May 2015

A man who lives near the Thames house where an armed man was fatally shot by the police, claims the man fired a shot at officers first.

A police cordon on Campbell Street.

A police cordon on Campbell Street over the weekend. Photo: RNZ / Nicole Pryor

The police said 33-year-old Vaughan William John Te Moananui, who had been the subject of a five hour manhunt, was shot at a Campbell Street property on Saturday when he refused to surrender and pulled out a firearm.

A Campbell Street resident claimed Mr Te Moananui was visiting his sister after an incident at Kopu, nearby.

"The cops all sort of surrounded the place, and he came out to confront them, apparently he fired off a shot and they fired back, but as he was out the front the family took off out the back door," he said.

"No-one saw it coming...they're just not trouble, they just get on with their life... it was like what the hell."

He said Mr Te Moananui was getting his life on track, had bought a car, and got a job, but had just "flipped out" about something.

He said the family was trying to come to terms with what had happened.

"They're a bit upset, but at the end of the day they've lost an uncle, and a brother," he said.

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Another woman who lived nearby said she saw the event unfold from her house.

She said she was in the garden at the time, and heard men shouting at each other.

"Then I just heard 'bang', and I saw the body drop, and I ran inside," she said.

The police said a post mortem was completed yesterday.

Police not ready to deal with these situations

The police union said officers were ill-equipped to deal with people wielding weapons.

Police Association's president Greg O'Connor said it was the second time in a week that unarmed officers have had to respond to people with guns, referring to a separate stand-off in South Auckland last week.

He said it was lucky the armed offenders squad got there in time.

"One of the problems of course is that the general staff, the response staff, are not armed [or] equipped to deal with an offender who acts in this manner," he said.

"It was fortunate that we had enough warning to get the armed offenders squad there."

Mr O'Connor said any calls to arm the police would have to wait until the investigations were finished.

But he said he believed the police's decision to shoot would be proven as the right one.

"It will be inquired into from every angle and I'm confident that New Zealanders will be reassured once again that police have done what they needed to in this situation."

The police say they expect to complete scene examinations on Campbell Street today.

Mr Te Moananui's death has been passed to the coroner, and the shooting is being investigated by the Independent Police Conduct Authority.