24 Jan 2009

Grieving mother says slain son was innocent boy

10:46 am on 24 January 2009

The mother of a teenage courier driver who was shot and killed during a confrontation between the police and a gunman on a motorway in Auckland, says her son was an innocent boy.

Halatau Naitoko, 17, was hit by a bullet on the north west motorway after an armed man was stopped following a big police chase from West Auckland to the city on Friday.

His mother, Ivoni Fuimaono, says her son loved his daughter, aged two, and his family.

He was working for his father who does contract work for a courier company, Kiwi Express.

Mrs Fuimaono says they are waiting to bring their son's body home and the family is making funeral preparations.

Police say it's unclear who shot him and can't rule out the possibility that a police officer may have fired the fatal shot.

Superintendent George Fraser says the shooting happened after the offender tried to hijack an oncoming van.

A homicide investigation has begun. An officer from another district is in charge of the case.

A man is in custody. A sawn-off .22 rifle was confiscated at the scene.

Another man is in Auckland Hospital. His injuries are described as not serious.