Police boss backs officers over shooting

  • 09/09/2015
Police boss backs officers over shooting

Wellington's police commander says he's confident officers "acted appropriately" when they fatally shot a 25-year-old gunman who opened fire in an Upper Hutt fast food restaurant.

Superintendent Sam Hoyle tonight confirmed earlier media reports that Pera Smiler of Upper Hutt was the man killed in the armed stand-off in the city's business district yesterday.

"I have reviewed the CCTV footage of the event this afternoon and remain confident that my officers acted appropriately to keep the community safe," Supt Hoyle said in a statement.

He said police were still sifting through hundreds of pieces of information and dozens of witnesses, as well as providing support for Smiler's family.

Before he was shot Smiler told a store attendant who was attempting to talk him down that he was trying to get into the army, but was rejected because of his police record.

Aside from that exchange, not much is known about why he took a high-powered rifle into a McDonald's and fired a single shot, leading to much of the business district being put into lockdown.

Witnesses told NZ Newswire say he was incoherently screaming as he paced back and forth on the corner of Main and Wakefield St.

No one else was hurt during the opening skirmish inside the McDonald's or later when Smiler shot at the police dog that accompanied the uniformed officers who eventually shot and killed him.

His Facebook profile reveals he had worked on an oil rig in Western Australia and was going to the gym to get in shape to join the armed forces.

A tribute from Dahlia Smiler described him as a tortured soul behind beautiful eyes.

Smiler was also due in Hutt Valley District Court on Thursday on a charge of obtaining a document for pecuniary advantage.

NZN