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Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Police accept the findings of an Independent Police Conduct Authority report in relation to the fatal shooting of a man in Darfield on 25 November 2018.

“The man’s death was a tragic outcome and our thoughts remain with his family and friends,” says Canterbury District Commander Superintendent John Price.

The IPCA found the two Police officers involved were legally justified, under section 48 of the Crimes Act, in shooting at the man to defend the public at large and other Police officers.

The IPCA also found the initial Police response to his wife’s 111 call was appropriate, the two officers complied with policy when arming themselves, and the cautious manner in which the Police approached the man’s car was reasonable. Sadly, he died before they could provide medical assistance.

On 25 November 2018 the man’s wife called Police after he pointed a shotgun at her during an argument. The wife also reported that she believed her husband was shooting at a door to gain entry to a room where the wife was hiding with her children. 

Two Police officers armed themselves with pistols and rifles and went directly to the address.

As they approached the house on foot, the officers saw the man was about to leave in his car and ordered him to stop. He accelerated out of his driveway, striking one of the officers. The officers fired a total of 10 shots at his car as he drove away.

The man drove about 500 metres before turning around, driving back a short distance and pulling over to the side of the road. He was found dead in his vehicle when Police approached about 18 minutes later.

A scene examination found six bullets had hit the back of his car and a bullet fragment had struck the man causing a fatal injury.

“We are here to keep our community safe and no police officer ever wants to be in a position where they have to make the decision to use any degree of force. We do not do it lightly and Police shootings have a major impact on the staff involved, their families and our wider Police team,” says Superintendent Price.

“Our intention is that every situation we attend can be resolved without incident to prevent harm and ensure the safety of all those involved. As this incident demonstrated, policing can be unpredictable, and the situations are often dynamic and complex.

“Our officers acted bravely and professionally in a fast-moving, high risk situation in which they only had seconds to make a decision to take action that could prevent a volatile situation from causing harm to others.

“It is important we also acknowledge that one of the officers received serious leg injuries when he was struck by the car driven by the man. Despite the fact he was badly injured, the officer continued to remain focused on preventing further harm.