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Mana Whanonga Pirihimana Motuhake

Non-fatal shooting in Blenheim

7 July 2020

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that an officer was justified in shooting an offender who ran towards him with the apparent intent to cut or stab him with a knife.

On Sunday 28 July 2019, the man threatened a woman and her daughter with a knife, then stole their car. Police pursued the car for 12 kilometres, using road spikes to bring it to a stop. The man then ran towards the officer with a knife in his hand.

The officer quickly got out of his patrol car, leaving the keys in the ignition and the engine running. He drew his Glock pistol and repeatedly told the man to drop his knife. However, the man continued to come towards him, so the officer fired a shot which hit the man's arm.

The man then got into the patrol car's driver seat, revved the engine, and tried to get the car into gear. The officer presented his Glock pistol at the man through the closed window and told him to get out and onto the ground. The man complied. He was arrested and received medical treatment.

The Authority found the officer's use of force was justified because he genuinely believed Mr X would seriously injure or kill him and fired the shot to defend himself.

"The officer was in a situation where he had to quickly get out of the patrol car to defend himself, when faced with a knife-wielding offender. The offender repeatedly ignored his instructions to drop the knife and continued coming towards the officer. The officer subsequently fired a shot in self-defence, which was reasonable in the circumstances. When the man got into the patrol car, the officer was aware of the risks, and acted swiftly to stop him from accessing the firearm lock box and driving off," said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.

Police have since identified actions to minimise the chance of offenders gaining access to Police vehicles and firearms.

Public Report
Non-fatal shooting in Blenheim (PDF 399 KB)

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