Glen Eden shooting: Family of Tex Witika attend blessing

Author
Miriam Burrell, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 3 Dec 2021, 3:17PM
Family of Tex Witika blessed his property yesterday morning along with police. (Photo / Miriam Burrell)
Family of Tex Witika blessed his property yesterday morning along with police. (Photo / Miriam Burrell)

Glen Eden shooting: Family of Tex Witika attend blessing

Author
Miriam Burrell, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Fri, 3 Dec 2021, 3:17PM

Family of a West Auckland man fatally shot by police have carried out a blessing at the remains of his home, which was destroyed by a fire four days earlier and where a firearms standoff ensued.

Tex Witika, also known as Rex, allegedly fired shots at neighbours who came to help after his house caught fire and then at police officers, injuring three, despite their efforts to negotiate with him.

Police returned fire and he died near the driveway to his home in Glen Eden on Monday morning. Firefighters doused the blaze and only a charred frame of the state home remains.

Witika's family visited the property yesterday morning around 11am to bless the site, neighbours told the Herald. The blessing was also attended by uniformed police officers.

"It feels much better," one neighbour said. She said before the blessing took place the property felt "creepy".

Other neighbours told the Herald they hope the severely damaged house can be removed soon.

A New Zealand Restoration Services (NZRS) employee was seen surveying the property today. Police have completed a scene examination.

Two officers who were shot at the address have since been released from Auckland Hospital. One remains in hospital in a stable condition.

"We would like to thank our community for their support in providing us with information and footage since this incident occurred," Waitematā District Commander Superintendent Naila Hassan said yesterday.

"I would also like to ... acknowledge the courage shown by our staff who attended this tragic incident.

"Police is ensuring our officers who were shot as well as those who were involved in this incident are being provided with welfare and are being well supported by their colleagues and the wider organisation."

Tex Witika

Tex Witika, 55, had lived at the Danube Ln address for more than 15 years, one neighbour said, who did not want to be identified.

He had worked previously as a welder and had even welded for her son once.

The man was "virtually blind in one eye" as a result of his trade, she said, and he suffered from emphysema.

He had adult children and grandchildren, some who she understood lived in Australia and across New Zealand. He had spent time with family on the East Cape last year, she remembered.

Armed police responded to the shooting in Glen Eden on Monday morning. Photo / Dean Purcell

He had a dog that "was a biter", which she believed was shot dead by police during the standoff.

"He was a really nice guy, he lived a quiet life," said the woman.

"He was very good to me. If you treated him right, he would treat you right."

Neighbours said Witika believed the house fire was an act of arson, and claimed someone had thrown a petrol bomb into his home.

He was heard shouting for people to "come outside" as it burnt down.