'Wanted to go out like a gangster' - Police cleared over fatal Thames shooting




In the hours before he was shot dead by police, Vaughan Te Moananui told his sister he had shot someone and "wanted to go out like a gangster", the police watchdog says.

Vaughan William John Te Moananui

Source: Facebook

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has cleared two officers over the shooting death of the 33-year-old in May last year.

Its head, Sir David Carruthers, said the Armed Offenders Squad officers were justified in shooting him because he had been pointing a gun at them, and they feared for their lives.

"The death of Mr Te Moananui was a tragedy but one that was unavoidable in the circumstances," he said.

The authority heard an armed Mr Te Moananui had spent the hours before the shooting at this sister's house, telling her "he wanted to go out like a gangster, giving Thames something to talk about".

When she called police at 4pm on May 2, fearing for the safety of her two young children, she said her brother was armed with "too much" ammo and wanted to shoot police.

Armed police were already at Mr Te Moananui's home in nearby Kopu, having been called out after he shot a friend in the foot the night before.

When they arrived at the Thames address, they found Mr Te Moananui armed with a rifle. He yelled out: "What do you want?" and "F***ing shoot me."

His sister fled the house with her two children.

As officers repeatedly yelled for Mr Te Moananui to drop the rifle, he moved towards them and raised the weapon, two officers firing almost simultaneously with both shots hitting him in the chest.

"I thought he was gonna kill us. I thought that's what his intention was, yeah. I genuinely believed he was gonna take a shot at us," one told the authority.

Waikato Police District Commander Bruce Bird said the report showed the officers did everything they could in a stressful and difficult situation.

"The officers did not want to shoot Mr Te Moananui but, given the risk he posed, they were left with no other option," he said.

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