8 Jun 2013

Police fatally shoot man after burglary

6:01 pm on 8 June 2013

A man has been shot dead by police who returned fire while trying to catch two people following a break-in at the New Plymouth Golf Club.

The dead man has been named by police as Adam Te Rata Charles Morehu, 33, of Waitara.

A second man is being held in custody, charged with burglary.

Police cordoned off the scene of the shooting.

Police cordoned off the scene of the shooting. Photo: RNZ

Police say they were called to the golf course about 4am on Saturday after several alarms went off and arrived to find windows smashed and two men leaving on a motorbike.

The club is off State Highway 3 on the outskirts of New Plymouth, near an industrial area and bordered by farm land.

The motorbike crashed and a police dog caught one of the men. When an officer went to help the dog, the second man, believed to be Mr Morehu, displayed aggressive behaviour and said he was going to kill the officers, police say.

They say he then fired one shot at the officers from a sawn-off rifle.

Another officer got a glock pistol from a police car and shot Mr Morehu when he thought he heard him reloading.

Mr Morehu was conscious at the scene but died a short time later.

Police say it is not clear how many shots were fired, and that will be the subject of investigations now underway.

Assistant Commissioner Grant Nicholls says the situation is a tragedy for everyone involved, and the police have extended their sympathies to Mr Morehu's family.

He says it was a dangerous situation and he believes the police officer made a courageous decision on the night.

Police continue to speak to witnesses and are carrying out several investigations into the shooting.

The scene remains cordoned off and the police say it is likely to remain so for a day or two.

Golf club manager Simon Rowe says the club has only been broken into once before, about four years ago, and he is not sure what the burglars were after.

He says there is alcohol, some takings and a shop full of golfing equipment but not a lot of cash is kept on the premises.