9 Dec 2021

Man jailed for shooting and injuring police officer at a routine traffic stop

3:12 pm on 9 December 2021

A man who shot and injured a police officer at a routine traffic stop in Hamilton in July has been jailed for seven years and eight months.

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Shannon Henry was sentenced this morning at the High Court in Hamilton. Photo: RNZ / Edward Gay

Shannon Henry, 23, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm to the officer, unlawful possession of a firearm, and unlawfully taking a motor vehicle

He was sentenced on Thursday at the Hamilton High Court .

The court heard that he targeted the officer's head and shot him from behind as the officer was taking cover.

Crown prosecutor Jacinda Hamilton said Henry shot a lone, unarmed and vulnerable police officer at close-range.

''He initially targeted his head and then shot him from behind as the victim turned, ducked and ran. The shot caused life-threatening and lasting injury.''

The officer received about 150 lead pellet shots to his upper body.

Many of the pellets can not be removed because of the risk of further nerve damage.

Justice Harland described the officer as courageous and brave.

''I acknowledge the courage and bravery displayed by the officer after he had been shot by you. Although wounded, he ran and radioed for help, thereby protecting his colleagues by warning them that you were armed."

The judge said the injuries inflicted continue to affect the officer.

''Not only was he hospitalised for a period, but he was bedridden weeks at home.

"He continues to suffer pain and numbness in his right arm, and because not all of the lead pellets were not able to be surgically removed there is an ongoing concern about their toxicity and the long-term effect this may have on his health.''

The officer has returned to front-line duties.

The judge acknowledged the effect the incident has had on the officer's family.

''They now worry every time he goes to work.''

Justice Harland imposed a non-parole period of half the prison term.

In a statement issued after the sentencing, Waikato Police District Commander superintendent Bruce Bird acknowledged the sentencing.

He said the officer suffered serious injuries as a result and was completing ongoing treatment.

Bird said the incident had a huge impact on the officer and his family.

''Our frontline staff, first and foremost are family members who live in our communities and chose to step up to keep everyone safe.

''Incidents like this impact the community and all police staff and I want to send a clear message that offenders will be held accountable."

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