ZB

Family in 'absolute shock' after man killed in suspected homicide in Tauranga

Author
Kiri Gillespie, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 15 May 2022, 3:16pm
Police are at a property on Maungatapu Rd in Tauranga after a "disorder incident" overnight left a man dead.
Police are at a property on Maungatapu Rd in Tauranga after a "disorder incident" overnight left a man dead.

Family in 'absolute shock' after man killed in suspected homicide in Tauranga

Author
Kiri Gillespie, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 15 May 2022, 3:16pm

A family is in "absolute shock" after their relative was killed in a suspected homicide in Tauranga last night. 

Police were called to a large fight at a house on Maungatapu Rd around 10.30pm. One neighbour heard things being thrown and property smashed up, including the sound of glass shattered, before armed police swarmed the area. 

When officers arrived around 10.30pm they found the man's body. They have now opened a homicide investigation. 

A spokesman for the dead man's devastated family this morning said they were still "struggling to understand the full extent of what occurred". 

He said the incident was clearly gang-related, but "the family itself that was attacked is not gang-related in any form whatsoever. We have no real connect at that level. 

"There's a gang element that's decided to do whatever they did, that's undisputed. That's fact. But from the perspective of the whānau that have been victims to that violence, there's absolutely no gang affiliation whatsoever. 

"A whole bunch of people turned up and decided to do what transpired. From there, there was a bunch of things that ended up with my nephew dead." 

He and the family were now dealing with "absolute shock". 

"We are just trying to piece together the hows, the whys," he said. 

"The level of devastation is unparallelled with the whānau, especially now that we have no obvious gang-type affiliation. Do we know some whānau in a gang? Absolutely. But in terms of this incident? It just blows me away." 

He said there had been an unveiling earlier in the day involving gang members, which attracted a number of gang associates to the region but "we don't know if that's connected at all". 

A contingent of patched Mongrel Mob members were among those gathering at the Hairini Urupā on State Highway 29A, just down the road from last night's incident. 

On Friday, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency issued an advisory warning people of delays due to the gathering and recommended people use an alternative route. 

Armed police this morning were guarding the entrance to the property where the man died, which is located at the end of a right-of-way opposite Maungatapu Primary School. 

A police marquee could be seen erected by the house's front door, and a drone appeared to be capturing the scene from above. 

In the school's carpark a crowd of family had gathered, keeping watch. 

Most people in the area declined to comment except for one person who spoke on the condition they weren't named. 

The person said people were too scared to be seen saying anything because it was "gang stuff", although no gang patches or insignia could be seen this morning. 

A local who heard the fight last night said they could hear things being thrown and the property being smashed up, including the sound of glass shattering. 

They had not gone outside but had called police, who had arrived fully armed soon after. 

Armed police stand guard outside a property on Maungatapu Rd where a homicide investigation is underway. Photo / Supplied

Armed police stand guard outside a property on Maungatapu Rd where a homicide investigation is underway. Photo / Supplied 

Part of the property was boarded off and forensics workers in white overalls were examining the scene this morning. 

Police were examining the property including behind the house, which backs onto a motorway reserve. 

Detective Senior Sergeant John Wilson said earlier this morning that police were called to a disorder incident involving a group of people at a residential property on Maungatapu Rd. On arrival they found a man's body. A homicide investigation was under way. 

"Police believe those involved in the disorder incident were known to each other," Wilson said. 

Nobody had been arrested as of 7.20am. Scene examinations would continue at two Maungatapu Rd properties today, he said. 

"Residents in the Maungatapu area will notice an increased police presence in the coming days while inquiries are ongoing."