Police commissioner shares details on the fatal shooting


Police officers blocking Customs Street East (INL Photo by Daryll Garcia)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, July 20, 2023

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster gave a media conference on the fatal shootings that shut down Central Auckland.

How the event unfolded

At 7.34 am, police arrived on the scene and the Armed Offenders Squad arrived four minutes later. Several people were evacuated by the Police that arrived on the scene within minutes after they received multiple emergency calls.

The offender made his way up the building while firing. Several people took refuge inside the building. Around 8 am, the offender was located inside a lift shaft where he had barricaded himself. The squad then secured the floors above and below. The offender fired at the Police and injured a Police officer. The officer is expected to undergo surgery today

The offender was neutralised after an exchange that followed, but unfortunately, two members of the public on lower levels were shot and killed.

The officer that was injured in the exchange is now recovering and reported to be in a stable condition, while four other members of the public have been reported to have sustained moderate to serious injuries,” said Commissioner Coster.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster addressed the media (INL File Photo)

The offender had a shotgun, not a prohibited weapon but did not have a firearms license so should not have been in possession of a weapon. The offender was in home detention for a history of domestic violence but had an exemption to work on the site. There had been a search of his property in the past but no weapons were recovered on those occasions. There might also be a history of mental health issues regarding the offender, however, Commissioner Coster refrained from any further comments on the matter.

The current situation in Central Auckland

As the situation is still developing, Commissioner Coster confirmed that the “possibility of more injuries cannot be ruled out as more victims make themselves known to the police. The building has since been cleared and lockdown has been lifted. Investigations will continue into the alarming incident that shocked many workers who were starting their day. We have contained the situation and not seeking anybody else.”

The offender is believed to be a 24-year-old man who was working on the construction site and his presence at the location this morning could be related to his work, but no confirmations have yet been provided in this regard.

The public has been reassured that the area is now safe for use. There is no ongoing threat to the public at large and Commissioner Coster assured that it was safe to attend today’s FIFA match as the Police were in constant touch with the organisers and no threat has been established to the event.

“Those who were in the vicinity might be feeling vulnerable but it would have been especially traumatic for those who remained trapped or hidden as the incident unfolded, but we want to reassure you that there is no reason for concern about the situation. There is an increased Police presence and the public can visit the vicinity,” said Commissioner Coster.

Commissioner Coster also praised the Police teams on location, who braved their way into the situation and worked diligently and efficiently.

Victim support processes are in place for anyone who needs to access the support agencies.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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