10 October 2013 - The Independent Police Conduct Authority today released its summary report on the non-fatal shooting of Ruka Hemopo at a Waitangirua address in Wellington on 2 May 2013.
Authority Chair Judge Sir David Carruthers said that after conducting its independent investigation the Authority found that Police were justified in their actions. The Police officers involved faced a complex, high-pressured and quickly-evolving situation. Despite this, they followed policy in all respects,” Sir David said.
In the early hours of the morning Police received a report that Mr Hemopo was involved in a domestic assault, using a hammer to attack his partner. Because of the nature of the reported assault one of the officers withdrew a Glock semi-automatic pistol and Taser from the patrol car gun safe prior to leaving the station. A second officer, also carrying a Taser, was en-route to the address.
Based on information received on arrival at the scene that the assault was still taking place inside the house, and the nature of the injuries sustained by the victim’s sister who had fled the house to call Police, the attending officers decided they needed to enter the house quickly to prevent further harm.
Both officers drew their weapons as they approached the house. They called for Mr Hemopo to show himself but he remained in a bedroom with his partner. Police then forced the door to the bedroom open which revealed Mr Hemopo clutching a knife and his partner crouching beneath him. Fearing Mr Hemopo was going to stab his partner both officers used their weapons simultaneously in order to prevent further harm or death to Mr Hemopo’s victim.
One officer, using the Glock pistol, shot Mr Hemopo’s upper body, almost at the same time as the other officer deployed the Taser. Mr Hemopo fell to the ground, dropping the knife as he did so. Mr Hemopo suffered a non-life threatening gunshot wound to the back. He has been charged with multiple offences in relation to the incident and remains in custody.
“The entire incident, from the time officers stated that they were entering the property until advising that shots had been fired, took about one minute”, Sir David said.
“The officers involved acted professionally and their quick response and action prevented further harm to Mr Hemopo’s partner and her sister,” Sir David said.