4 Oct 2012

Officer 'justified' in shooting knife-wielding man

10:10 pm on 4 October 2012

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found a policeman who shot and wounded a man wielding a knife in Christchurch was justified in using his gun.

Zakariye Mohammed Hussein went on a rampage through the streets of Christchurch in June this year kidnapping and stabbing a delivery truck driver and repeatedly stabbing a council worker.

His spree was brought to a halt at an intersection in morning rush hour traffic by the officer who shot at him twice with his pistol, bringing him to the ground.

The head of the IPCA, Judge Sir David Carruthers, says the officer correctly tried to stop Hussein with pepper spray and another officer tried to stop him with a taser.

Because neither of those options worked, the judge said the officer was justified in using his gun.

Judge Carruthers says the officer should have been wearing ballistic body armour when he used the gun and notes that police are now clarifying their policy on that.

Hussein pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a knife, kidnapping, and wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and was sentenced to 6½ years in prison.

District Commander Gary Knowles told Radio New Zealand's Checkpoint programme on Thursday the decision is great news for the distressed officer who feels that his actions have been vindicated.

"He's a really nice young guy with a good family and I think he probably still thinks about it. But at the end of the day as we've said to him, he acted as he had to and did exactly what we trained him to do."