29 Mar 2011

Man fired shotgun before fatally shot, say police

6:32 am on 29 March 2011

Police believe a man they shot dead near Fernhill, west of Hastings, on Monday morning fired the weapon he was carrying.

Police shot Lachan Kelly-Tumarae, 19, about 2am after they pursued him from the Napier suburb of Maraenui, half an hour earlier.

Superintendent Sam Hoyle says a precise picture of what happened near the Napier-Taihape road intersection will take some days to compile.

But Mr Hoyle says it appears Mr Kelly-Tumarae fired a shotgun at police before he was fatally wounded by a shot or shots fired by police.

Police are still working to ascertain where the shotgun was aimed and how many shots were fired

Mr Hoyle says the police investigation into the shooting will include an examination of Mr Kelly-Tumarae's background.

He says they want to find out why he was in Maraenui in the early hours of the morning, armed with a shotgun.

Earlier, police said Mr Kelly-Tumarae presented a firearm near the intersection and that he was shot after twice pointing a gun at officers.

Mr Hoyle says a night shift patrol was working in Wordsworth Crescent just after 1.30am when it noticed a man acting suspiciously near a parked vehicle.

Police say the officers approached the man, Mr Kelly-Tumarae, but retreated when he pointed a gun at them.

Mr Hoyle say several police cars then followed his blue Nissan stationwagon to Fernhill where he stopped suddenly, got out of the vehicle, and again pointed the gun at officers.

Mr Kelly-Tumarae was shot and died in Hawke's Bay Hospital about 3am.

Mr Hoyle says there was no high-speed chase and police cars followed the man at a distance for about 15km before he got out of his stationwagon.

A resident who lives about 70 metres from where the shooting took place says he was woken about 2am by sirens, and moments later heard shots from across the road.

The scene remains cordoned off on Monday afternoon as police examine Mr Kelly-Tumarae's vehicle and look for other evidence.

Several investigations are under way, including a homicide investigation and an inquiry by the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

Uncle speaks

The dead man's uncle, James Tumarae, says his nephew was a good person who planned to join the army and earlier this year attended a six-week limited-service volunteer course at Trentham.

Mr Tumarae said he wanted to know why police did not use a taser instead of a gun.

He said it was out of character for his nephew to have a firearm and he could not understand what happened.

Mr Tumarae believed the firearm belonged to his late father, who had used it for duck shooting.

He described Mr Kelly-Tumarae as a laid-back placid man.