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Upper Hutt officers' bravery praised

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/09/2016
Pera Smiler was killed last year after he opened fire inside a McDonald's restaurant © Facebook Pera Smiler was killed last year after he opened fire inside a McDonald's restaurant

The police watchdog has praised the bravery of two officers while clearing them of any wrong-doing following the fatal shooting of gunman Pera Smiler outside Upper Hutt McDonald's last year.

Smiler, 25, was killed in September after he took a high-powered rifle into the CBD restaurant and fired into the ceiling, later shooting at police officers before being shot himself.

"The police officers who armed themselves and went towards Upper Hutt McDonald's did so at great personal risk, in order to protect the public," Independent Police Conduct Authority chairman Sir David Carruthers said on Tuesday.

"They believed that people in the restaurant had been shot. I acknowledge the bravery and professionalism of all the officers who responded on that day."

Sir David said a number of 111 calls to police said a man was shooting at people and had "already shot someone" during a busy lunchtime in the CBD.

Smiler shot twice at officers from the McDonald's, one shot narrowly missing an acting sergeant.

The sergeant, armed with a police-issue rifle then spoke with Smiler for 10 minutes in an effort to get him to drop his weapon while people took shelter in nearby shops.

An armed offenders squad member and dog handler, who had been off-duty, arrived on the scene and when Smiler raised his rifle he was shot by the squad member and also the sergeant.

He died at the scene. The entire episode lasted about 18 minutes.

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