Police need to be better shots

The Herald reports:

officers who chased and shot dead an armed teenager broke a number of police policies, but were justified in the shooting, a report into the incident concluded today.

Lachan Kelly-Tumarae, 19, died after being shot numerous times in a stand-off with officers in Hawkes Bay in March 2011.

The details are:

Mr Kelly-Tumarae had left his grandmother’s home in Flaxmere, in the early hours of the morning of Sunday, March 28, with his late-grandfather’s shotgun. He had both alcohol and cannabis in his system from the night before.

The teenager was spotted by a routine patrol crouching beside a car, and when they stopped, he approached and pointed the weapon at them.

The officers sped off and reported the incident to their communications centre.

An 18km pursuit through suburban Napier began after Mr Kelly-Tumarae drove away in his grandmother’s car and ended up outside the main entrance to the Omahu Marae Cemetery, west of Hastings, where his grandfather was buried.

The teen got out of the car with the shotgun and pointed it at an officer parked close by. A policeman in a second vehicle got out of his patrol car and aimed his Glock pistol at Mr Kelly-Tumarae, shouting “armed police”.

The 19-year-old ran towards the cemetery, then stopped and turned around, aiming his gun at the armed officer.

In that situation the Police had no option but to shoot him. If you have armed police telling you to surrender, you don’t point a gun at them. Mr Kelly-Tumarae is entirely responsible for his own death.

“Fearing that Mr Kelly-Tumarae was going to shoot him, the officer discharged a volley of shots. Mr Kelly-Tumarae remained standing, and believing he had missed, the officer fired another volley of shots,” the report says.

A total of 14 bullets were fired from the police officer’s weapon, with four wounding the teen. Another bullet appeared to have passed through his clothing, the report said.

This is the issue of concern. A 4/14 strike rate is pretty bad. The officer obviously needs more firearms training. If you don’t hit the person with your first shot or two, then they may get to shoot you.

It is sad whenever it is necessary for the Police to shoot someone, as was this case. But when they do have to shoot, you want them to be accurate.

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