Massey police shooting - surviving officer 'grateful to be alive'

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 21 Jun 2020, 2:33PM
Constable Matthew Hunt was fatally shot in Massey on Friday. Photo / NZ Police
Constable Matthew Hunt was fatally shot in Massey on Friday. Photo / NZ Police

Massey police shooting - surviving officer 'grateful to be alive'

NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Sun, 21 Jun 2020, 2:33PM

The police officer who survived a hail of bullets that claimed Constable Matthew Hunt's life says he is "grateful to be alive" but devastated by the tragedy.

Police have acknowledged the massive outpouring of support that has come in globally after the fatal shooting of Hunt in Massey on Friday.

Assistant Commissioner Richard Chambers and Waitematā district commander Superintendent Naila Hassan spoke to reporters this afternoon.

Hunt, 28, was fatally shot in the Auckland suburb of Massey on Friday. His colleague also suffered gunshot injuries and remains in hospital, as well as a bystander who was run over.

Chambers said the man now charged with Hunt's murder was arrested at 12.20pm on Friday - less than two hours after the shooting.

Police were very grateful for CCTV footage from members of the public that had captured the events of the shooting and subsequent police hunt.

Detectives were still looking for other vehicles in relation to Friday's fatal shooting.

Chambers said two people were before the courts and police say they are not searching for anyone else.

A man, 24, has been charged with murder and appeared in court yesterday.

Slain cop widely respected

A visibly distressed Hassan said she met with Hunt's mother yesterday and said his family was "absolutely devastated".

The second officer had "mixed feelings" about surviving the shooting and was "grateful to be alive".

The injured officer won't be returning to duty immediately. He had only recently started working with Hunt, Hassan said.

She described Hunt as an "outstanding police officer".

"He was killed serving his country. There is no higher price," Hassan said through tears.

Chambers said the injured officer and the injured member of the public remain in a stable condition.

"We are layering support around our staff but obviously it is incredibly difficult for them at the moment," Hassan said.

The scene of Friday's shooting was blessed by iwi today.

"It was a moving event," Hassan said.

Chambers said police were "getting close" to re-opening Reynella Drive to the public.

Hunt was widely respected by his colleagues and had only joined the road policing team two weeks ago.

"This was his dream job, it took him a while to get into the police but he was living his dream," Hassan said.

Hunt's lifelong dream was to become a police officer. In October 2017, he finally became a constable and started his work on the frontline.

It was on that frontline - during what should have been a routine traffic stop - that he was killed.

His heartbroken family are now planning his funeral, which could be delayed to allow family and friends to return from overseas.

Covid-19 restrictions mean every person who comes back has to self-isolate for 14 days, which may mean the funeral does not go ahead until they are all cleared.

His colleagues are now investigating his alleged murder.

Yesterday morning, Hunt's family members visited Reynella Dr in Massey, the scene of the fatal shooting.

At the same time, the family of a 24-year-old South Auckland man were sitting in the back of the Waitākere District Court where he appeared before a Justice of the Peace charged with Hunt's murder.

He is also charged with the attempted murder of a second officer he allegedly shot, and wounding a member of the public who was hit by a car during the fracas.

He has been granted interim name suppression and was remanded in custody until his next appearance in the High Court at Auckland next month.

Yesterday, police arrested 30-year-old Natalie Bracken in relation to the shooting.

She was wanted on warrants for driving charges and as an accessory after the fact to the alleged murder of Hunt.

Bracken is due to appear in the Waitākere District Court tomorrow.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster spent time with Hunt's family yesterday, after first meeting them on Friday evening.

He said supporting them was a priority.