13 Apr 2018

Shot father-to-be Jerrim Toms: A generous jokester

3:03 pm on 13 April 2018

Jerrim Toms will be remembered by his family and friends not as the 29-year-old man shot dead by the police, but as the "jokester" and an incredibly generous man who would - and literally had - given the shirt off his back for others, they say.

Jerrim Toms

Jerrim Toms Photo: Supplied / Toms family

The Auckland man was killed on 31 March after his car was road spiked north of Puhoi. He allegedly threatened officers with a machete before they opened fire, the police said.

How and why Mr Toms was shot did not add up, his family said, but they were also reflecting on their memories of him.

He was always there if and when people needed him, his family said.

He loved motorbikes and worked most recently as a motorbike mechanic after convincing his employer to create a role for him.

He was inquisitive and had a thirst for knowledge and a love for the outdoors and plants, having worked most of his career as a landscaper or at nurseries.

Mr Toms was looking forward to being a Dad - his German girlfriend is due to give birth any day in Germany. He posted a message to his daughter on Facebook on Good Friday, the day before he died.

A Facebook post Mr Toms put up about his daughter on the day before he was shot dead by police.

A Facebook post Mr Toms put up about his daughter on the day before he was shot dead by police. Photo: Supplied

"I'm glad that he did that because now his daughter will always be able to see how he felt about her without someone else having to say it to her," Mr Toms' sister Natasha said.

He would be terribly missed, his family said.

Jerrim Toms

Jerrim Toms Photo: Supplied / Toms family

The family had asked the police to hold off naming Mr Toms until after his funeral a week later and the police agreed to do that. However he was named in some media reports, and the family said that made the process of putting their loved one to rest more stressful.

Friends and extended family members told the immediate family they had been contacted by media and some of the messages to the immediate family were disrespectful, they said.

However, they also said the media had shed light on some things the police should have told them, including assertions that Mr Toms had been carrying a machete and was shot at close range, they said.

It was surprising, especially because they had not been told, Jerrim's father Kevin said.

"[Police] didn't say it was close range ... they said they hadn't looked into it yet," he said.

His family also rejected claims Mr Toms had a machete, but said police had shown them a photo of a blunt knife Mr Toms' had for seven years.

In a statement, Detective Inspector John Sutton said, "we have confirmed to the family representatives that Jerrim was in possession of a machete at the time and that he had been shot while close to police."

Police said it could not comment on specifics while investigations were under way.

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