Police justified in shooting north of Puhoi

The Independent Police Conduct Authority have found that two police officers were justified in a shooting a man on State Highway One who advanced at them wielding a machete, last year.

The incident began in the early hours of Saturday, March 31, last year when an officer encountered Jerrim Toms in a vehicle partially blocking a lane on Stage Highway One, north of Wellsford.

When the officer tried to speak with him, Mr Toms got out of his vehicle wielding a machete, and so the officer retreated and called for backup.

Officers followed Mr Toms who was at times driving erratically, at excessive speeds and with his headlights off for 40 minutes.

At one point, Mr Toms exited his vehicle and used his machete to strike the window of the patrol vehicle while police officers were seated inside.

Police say Mr Toms eventually stopped about a kilometre north of Johnstones Hill Tunnels, and despite calls from staff to drop his weapon and to get on the ground, he continued to walk towards them still holding the machete.

Police say this was when Mr Toms was then fatally shot. Officers immediately provided medical assistance but Mr Toms died at the scene.

Police subsequently carried out a criminal investigation which found the officers acted in self-defence, and the decision not to lay charges was reviewed by crown solicitor who agreed with the outcome of the police investigation.

Police say Mr Toms was under the influence of methamphetamine, cannabis and alcohol.

“Police had a significant number of community members come forward to say they had witnessed Mr Toms’ erratic driving and behaviour, and we also know he had gone to a service station earlier in the evening where he threatened to kill the sole attendant.”

Waitemata District Commander Superintendent Naila Hassan says no officer wants to be put in this position, but in this instance there were no other options.

“These officers showed immense bravery in a high-risk situation dealing with an offender who was on methamphetamine and highly agitated,” superintendent Hassan says.

“We wish that every situation could be resolved without incident but policing can be unpredictable and the situations are often complex.”

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