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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Fatal shooting of Graeme Warren justified

8 December 2020

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police officer was legally justified in shooting Graeme Warren in Kurow on 5 December 2019, as he acted to defend both himself and another officer.

Mr Warren's adult son alerted Police that his father was threatening to commit suicide and that he was unable to find him. Two officers from nearby towns responded.

The local sole-charge officer was off-duty, however, came on duty as Mr Warren was a friend of his and he believed he could talk him "out of the dark place that he was in". He found Mr Warren at home, in a depressed state. The officer was initially able to communicate with him but Mr Warren then stopped communicating.

The situation escalated when officers saw Mr Warren carrying a rifle inside his house. They requested the Armed Offenders Squad and a Police Negotiating Team to attend, then the three officers set up a cordon around the property and waited for their arrival.

A short time later Mr Warren came out of his house with his rifle and threatened one of the officers, pointing his rifle at him. Mr Warren then turned towards another of the officers and pointed his rifle at him. This officer fired one shot at Mr Warren, wounding him in the abdomen.

The officers quickly provided medical assistance, however Mr Warren died a short while later in Dunedin hospital.

The Authority found that the three officers correctly identified the increasing risks, worked together to cordon and contain the scene, and asked for assistance when the level of risk increased.

"I consider the officers responded well to the nature of the incident. They took an appropriately cautious approach given Mr Warren's state of mind and the risks involved with his having a firearm. They did everything possible to prevent Mr Warren taking his own life and then when he was shot, tried to save him," said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

Public Report

Fatal shooting of Graeme Warren justified (PDF 577 KB)

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