4 Dec 2014

Police cleared over Caleb Henry killing

7:52 pm on 4 December 2014

Police were justified in shooting a man who committed a violent home invasion, fleeing with guns and ammunition and leading them on an armed chase, the IPCA has ruled.

Caleb Henry was shot by police in July 2013.

Caleb Henry was shot by police in July 2013. Photo: FACEBOOK

Caleb Henry carried out a home invasion in Opotiki in July last year. Police picked up the pursuit of Henry's stolen vehicle in Cambridge, closing petrol stations, motorway on and off-ramps and forcing lights to phase green as they followed him.

The authority's report found that Henry had attempted to shoot at officers at least twice and told a police negotiator that he would kill officers if they tried to stop him.

When stopped by road spikes on Auckland's northern motorway, Henry shot at police and was pointing his gun at officers [http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/213933/man-who-died-after-gunfight-with-police-a-former-soldier when a member of the Armed Offenders Squad fired and killed him.

The chair of the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA), Judge Sir David Carruthers, said although the incident resulted in Henry's death, police should be commended for their command and control of the operation.

The 20-year-old former soldier called police on 111 from his cellphone saying he would kill them if they tried to stop him. When the phone's battery ran out, he dropped paper notes from the car demanding a new phone.

Sir David said they were faced with a dangerous situation and genuinely believed that Henry posed an immediate threat of death to officers nearby.

"He threatened to shoot them and he fired at officers during the pursuit, pointed the rifle at other motorists on the way," he said.

"It ended in tragedy with the death of this man, so no one can be happy or pleased about that, but it was well run, and no one else was hurt."

During the home invasion a couple in their 60s were tied up and robbed at their property near Opotiki. Allan and Anne Looney, aged 66 and 62, were treated in Whakatane Hospital for cuts.

Five police cars damaged

Police damaged five of their cars on road spikes during the four-hour incident. During the 230km chase officers deployed three sets of road spikes along the way.

Henry swerved around one set of spikes, but five police cars drove over them. Officers were forced to switch cars mid-pursuit.