27 Oct 2008

Woman killed by police named

6:17 am on 27 October 2008

The woman who was killed by police in Whangarei on Thursday has been named.

Lee Jane Mettam, aged 37, of Onerahi, Whangarei, was shot by a member of the Armed Offenders Squad after she held up staff in a Vodafone shop in Reyburn Street.

She entered the store about 9am wielding what staff thought was a shotgun. It has since been confirmed as an air rifle.

Most of the Vodafone staff escaped through a back door, but one man remained a prisoner. Police evacuated nearby businesses before calling in armed police.

Inspector Chris Scahill earlier said she came out of the shop twice and was challenged by police to put down the weapon. When she pointed it at officers, she was shot in the chest and killed at 10am.

Police have contacted her next of kin in New Zealand and overseas.

Police say they still want to talk with witnesses to the shooting, and in particular anyone who saw Ms Mettam in the Whangarei area before she was killed.

She's described as thin with long brown dreadlocks to her shoulders and was wearing a dark coat, dark baseball cap and blue jeans at the time.

Police have launched a homicide inquiry and an internal investigation.