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Teen with airgun greeted census workers like ‘gangster’

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 19 Apr 2023, 9:13am
Photo / NZ Herald
Photo / NZ Herald

Teen with airgun greeted census workers like ‘gangster’

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 19 Apr 2023, 9:13am

“You answered the door like some kind of gangster,” Judge Michael Turner told a teen who pulled an airgun on two male census workers.

“You might have been irritated by someone knocking on the door ... but they were entitled to be there”.

At the Dunedin District Court earlier this month, Damian Robert Larsen, 19, of Mosgiel, admitted presenting an airgun at the pair (aged 66 and 77).

Court documents said Larsen was at home asleep, about 10am, when the victims went to speak to the occupants because the census for the household had not been completed.

The 66-year-old knocked on the door and tried to speak to a male who opened a second-floor window.

While the victims were explaining why they were there, they heard someone else inside swearing at them.

Larsen opened the door, only a few steps away from the pair, holding an airgun across his body. Both feared for their safety, the court heard.

Larsen continued swearing at them and said he did not answer questions.

The younger victim asked him to put the gun away. Larsen responded by saying it was a .22 and cracked the barrel open while taking a step backwards.

Feeling threatened, the victims fled to their vehicle which was parked down the road.

As they got in, Larsen stood on the front lawn staring at them.

The address was searched on April 3 but the firearm was not found. Larsen told police he did not realise what he had done was an offence.

The weapon was an airgun he purchased from a shop and he had sold it to a friend on the day of the incident, he said.

His behaviour had been “unimpressive ... like your demeanour in court — shrugging your shoulders”, the judge said.

Larsen was sentenced to 80 hours’ community work and ordered to pay $100 emotional harm reparation to each victim.

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