16 Sep 2015

David Cerven unarmed when shot by police

6:47 pm on 16 September 2015

It has been been revealed that David Cerven was unarmed when police shot him in an Auckland park last month.

Police released an image of David Cerven, 21, on Saturday, saying they wanted to locate him in relation to three armed robberies on the North Shore.

David Cerven Photo: NZ POLICE

The 21-year-old, who was being sought in relation to three robberies, was killed in Myers Park in Auckland's CBD.

Police said at the time the young man claimed to be armed and, after 20 minutes of negotiating, he was fatally shot.

However a coroner's minute says Mr Cerven was not armed when he was shot.

Coroner Katharine Greig said he died as a result of injuries he sustained, and no weapon was found at the scene.

Ms Greig said police had advised her about the content and nature of the communication they had had with Mr Cerven in the lead-up to the shooting, suggesting he wanted to die and intended to make it happen.

Officers were called to the park about 7.20pm on 2 August by Mr Cerven, who was from the Slovak Republic.

Myers Park, central Auckland, Monday 3 August.

Myers Park at the time of the 2 August shooting. Part of the park was cordoned off. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

They said when he indicated he was armed they called for armed officers to attend and negotiations were initiated but were unsuccessful. He was shot about 7.45pm after he indicated he was about to use a gun, and died at the scene.

Police have repeatedly refused to confirm whether Mr Cerven was armed or whether a weapon was found.

Along with the coroner's investigation, two other investigations are being carried out; one by the Independent Police Conduct Authority, and the other an internal police policy and practice inquiry.

In a statement, police said their criminal investigation interim report had been completed and was now with the overall supervisor of the investigations into Mr Cerven's death.

Auckland Police District Commander Superintendent Richard Chambers said he hoped the tragic circumstances would serve as a reminder to anyone who threatened to use firearms in the presence of police that such threats would be treated seriously.

Police Association president Greg O'Connor said the finding showed the police had no choice but to shoot Mr Cerven.

He commended the coroner for releasing the finding at an early stage, while other investigations were still continuing.

"What the public really need, and the family and, indeed, the police officers involved, is this reassurance that the police have not acted arbitarily but have acted as they were forced to act, governed by the actions of this young man."

At least 30 people have been fatally shot by police since the 1940s. Investigations have found officers acted lawfully in 27 of those cases.

Myers Park, central Auckland, Monday 3 August.

Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs