10 Jun 2013

Firearms charges laid after police shooting death

4:51 am on 10 June 2013

Police have charged a suspected co-offender after Saturday's fatal police shooting at the New Plymouth Golf Club.

A cordon at New Plymouth Golf Club on Saturday.

A cordon at New Plymouth Golf Club on Saturday. Photo: RNZ

Adam Te Rata Charles Morehu, 33, of Waitara, was shot dead by police attending a suspected burglary at the golf club early on Saturday morning.

Police say two men were caught leaving the club about 4am and one of them - Mr Morehu - shot at officers with a sawn-off rifle.

Police returned fire and Mr Morehu died soon after.

The other man, a 32-year-old from New Plymouth, had initially been charged with aggravated burglary and is now also facing charges of being a party to using a firearm against a police officer and using a firearm in the commission of an offence.

He will appear in the New Plymouth District Court on Monday.

Mr Morehu's body has been taken to Wellington for a post-mortem.

Police said they were still canvassing the scene and speaking to witnesses.

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

Assistant Comissioner Grant Nicholls said three inquiries have begun: the investigation of the crime itself, a police procedures inquiry and an investigation by the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

The number of shots fired by police is one of the aspects being investigated by the IPCA.

Police have said Mr Morehu had a history of drug and dishonesty offences.

Shock - but no resentment: Mayor

New Plymouth Mayor Harry Duynhoven said the Waitara community is shocked by the death, but appears not to resent the police officers who shot Mr Morehu.

He had not heard of any acrimony towards the officers.

Mr Duynhoven also said the shooting is very different from the one in 2000 when Constable Keith Abbott fatally shot Steven Wallace of Waitara.