23 Mar 2013

Police track movements of Jeep after shooting

5:35 am on 23 March 2013

The search for clues in the fatal shooting of a roadworker continues, with the police dive squad scouring the Waikato River around the bridge where George Taiaroa was shot.

Detective Inspector Mark Loper says that, due to help from the public, police have been able to track where the blue four-wheel-drive Jeep Cherokee travelled after the shooting happened, suggesting that the person knew the area well.

An Atiamuri resident says Tram Road is mainly used by logging trucks but also as a detour by people driving to Te Kuiti.

Mr Loper says he believes the vehicle was stopped by Mr Taiaroa and the shot was fired as the car left the scene.

The 67-year-old was killed on Tuesday on Tram Road in the Kinleith Forest area north of Taupo, while he was co-ordinating traffic at a one lane bridge.

It is believed a vehicle was stopped by Mr Taiaroa, and as the car left the scene the shot was fired.

The police have so far have been unable to locate the vehicle or the driver.

Police say they are looking closely at a number of people in connection with the shooting.

Meanwhile, the police dive squad began scouring the Waikato River on Friday for any clues.

Police have set up a hotline dedicated to the investigation - 0800 Kingswood (0800 546 479), and say they want to hear from people who have any suspicion of who the offender might be. All calls will be treated in confidence.

Steve, who lives in Atiamuri says the shooting has shocked the small, quiet town and hopes police catch the culprit so he and his family can feel safe again.

Bruce Thomas, who runs the Atiamuri Gull petrol station, says the area is usually very safe and locals are devastated by the killing.

George Taiaroa's body is at Ngatokowaru Marae near Levin, where his funeral will take place on Saturday.

The police dive squad search the area where George Taiaroa was shot.

The police dive squad search the area where George Taiaroa was shot. Photo: RNZ