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Police shooting in Waikato justified: IPCA

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/04/2017

Two Waikato police officers were justified shooting a man pointing a sawn-off shotgun at them in 2014, the independent investigator says.

The officers fired seven rounds at the then 50-year-old man at Kerepehi on the night of October 21, 2014, leaving him with several serious wounds.

The lead-up to the shooting began earlier when the man's partner called police for help, saying he had assaulted her and held the shotgun to her head, the Independent Police Conduct Authority said on Thursday.

She warned the man had been drinking, was wearing a bullet-proof vest and "gonna go guns blazing" in a shootout with officers if he saw them.

About an hour later, the man and woman left their home but drove over police road spikes and came to a halt on State Highway 2.

Two armed officers ordered the man to stop and put his hands in the air, but he instead pointed a rifle at them, the IPCA said in its report into the incident.

Fearing that they were going to be shot, the officers fired seven times at the man and were justified in doing so because he posed a real threat of death or serious injury to them and nearby officers, IPCA chairman, Judge Sir David Carruthers, said.

"When the man pointed his rifle at the officers, other tactical options were not viable or appropriate," Sir David said.

"Police responded appropriately to this incident as it developed and provided all reasonable assistance to the man after he was shot."

Acting Waikato Police District Commander Superintendent Greg Nicholls welcomed the IPCA findings, saying the officers had not wanted to shoot the man and other options were considered, but ultimately were left with no choice.

Despite completing its investigation into the shooting by October 2015, the IPCA said it delayed the release of the public report until after court proceedings against the man concluded last month.

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