Police cleared over Kelly-Tumarae shooting

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

The family of Lachan Kelly-Tumarae have been waiting almost three years for the IPCA report, looking into the death of the 19-year-old who was fatally shot by police in Omahu, Hawke's Bay, in 2011.

The report clears police of any wrongdoing and says the 14-shot volley which killed him was justified.

The IPCA hand delivered the report into the death of Lachan Kelly-Tumarae to his family home, but the report hasn't brought the family the closure they'd been hoping for.

On March 28 in 2011, Lachan, having consumed alcohol and cannabis the night before, was spotted by police in Maraenui with his grandfather's gun, leading to an 18km pursuit from Maraenui to Ōmahu Cemetery.

An officer at the scene fired a 14-shot volley at the teenager after he aimed his firearm towards them.  Four bullets hit him and he later died in hospital.

The report says that the officer who fired his gun at Lachan is cleared of any wrongdoing because he thought that his own life was in jeopardy.

The report is critical of the actions of police that night, particularly the shift commander, saying he did not have a clear strategy in place.

The decision to use road spikes didn't take into consideration the safety of Lachan.

It also highlights the delay in alerting the AOS.  Other errors noted are that the officer that shot Lachan was not wearing his armour and another officer that carried a gun was not certified.

The family are still coming to terms with what is in the report.

Although a number of recommendations have been made including amendments to Police policy around the use and carrying of firearms, they come too late for the Tumarae family.

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