Dacre police shooting investigation: Officer justified for shooting man brandishing a gun and knife

A policeman shot a man in the chest after he refused to engage with officers and tried to seize passing cars. Photo / NZME

A policeman has been commended for his bravery in defending the public against a man trying to seize passing cars while wielding a gun and knife.

An independent investigation said the policeman acted appropriately by shooting the man who officers believed had hurt his ex-partner and was putting the public in danger.

“The Independent Police Conduct Authority [IPCA] has found that a police officer was justified in shooting a man who tried to stab him with a knife in Dacre, a rural area near Invercargill, on March 19, 2022,” authority chair Judge Kenneth Johnston KC said.

The incident took place when police were called to the rural property because of reports the man had seriously hurt his ex-partner.


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Police said the man refused to engage with them.

Instead he was “aggressive and fired a home-made gun inside the house”, Johnston said.

A short time late, the man attempted to flee at high speed in a vehicle but smashed into a police car parked across the property’s driveway.

Jumping out of the damaged car with a knife and gun, he walked onto the road, leading members of the public to stop their cars.


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As another police car arrived, the man ran towards the public still holding the gun and knife, Johnston said.

An officer attempted to fire a “sponge round” at the man, but the officer’s firearm failed.

“The man tried to get into a milk tanker using his gun to smash the window, breaking the gun, then tried getting into a nearby car,” Johnston said.

“The same officer challenged the man to stop, but the man then ran at the officer swinging his knife.”

Again a sponge round failed to fire.

The officer then stepped back and drew his pistol.

“The man continued to rush forward with the knife, trying to grab the officer’s pistol,” Johnston said.

“The officer fired one shot and hit the man in the chest. The man later had surgery and recovered.”

The IPCA found the police officer acted in defence of himself and those in the cars the man had tried to seize.

“Verbal instructions and communication, and the attempted use of the sponge round weapon, had failed to stop the man,” Johnston said.


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“The officer faced serious consequences for his safety and responded appropriately and bravely to defend himself and members of the public. I commend him for his actions.”

The man’s ex-partner was later found unharmed.

The man has since been convicted and sentenced in relation to the incident.

The sponge round weapon was checked and found to be operational.

Southern District Commander Superintendent Paul Basham said he is proud of his officers in such a high-risk situation.

“I am proud of the way our officers handled this extremely dangerous and unpredictable situation and their actions are commendable,” Basham said.


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“As always, we review and learn from these situations for the safety of our staff and the public.”

“Thankfully, our officers were able to return home unharmed, however, we continue to provide support to them following what was an understandably distressing incident.”

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