The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police officer was justified in shooting at a man who shot at officers and a Police dog in Tangowahine, a rural area near Dargaville, on 1 December 2020.
The man was wanted by Police and had been evading them for several weeks. When officers approached him, he attempted to run through a row of trees and into an open paddock. A Police dog was released to capture him. When the man was about 30 metres ahead of the pursuing officers, he suddenly reached into his backpack and unexpectedly pulled out a large, long barrelled revolver. The man immediately fired three shots towards the officers and dog, critically injuring the dog. Under fire, and with no cover available, the running officer fired four shots towards the man, two of which hit him causing significant injuries, from which he has recovered.
The Authority found the officer was justified in both releasing the dog to apprehend the man and firing all four shots in defence of himself and his fellow officers. Officers provided the man with prompt and appropriate medical care.
“Even though the man had evaded Police for some time, the officer thought he was executing a ‘routine’ warrant for the man’s arrest but found himself unexpectedly being shot at. He responded appropriately and bravely to defend himself and the lives of his colleagues. I commend him for his actions,“ said Authority Chair, Judge Colin Doherty.
The Police dog survived. He was unable to return to frontline duties due to his injuries, however, continues to work as a Police Search and Rescue dog.
The Authority completed its investigation into this incident in April 2021 but delayed the release of its public report until after the conclusion of the man’s related court proceedings in July 2022, at which time we believed he may speak with us. However, the man declined to give his account.