Witness wanted to calm Upper Hutt shooter

Pera Smiler (Facebook)
Pera Smiler (Facebook)

The armed man shot dead by police in Upper Hutt yesterday has been named as Pera Smiler, and was due to appear in court tomorrow.

Police shot the 25-year-old after an armed standoff at the McDonald's on Main St around 12:40pm yesterday.

They have yet to formally name Smiler, but are expected to confirm his identity today.

The cordon around the scene remains in place and the body is expected to be removed today.

Court staff have revealed Smiler was due to appear in in the Hutt Valley District Court tomorrow.

He faces a charge of obtaining a document for pecuniary advantage and a warrant for his arrest was issued.

He previously appeared in court on charges of driving with excess blood alcohol and failing to stop when required.

Smiler's Facebook page shows he had spent time living and working in Perth.

He posted a photo in January accompanied by words about his ambition to join the armed forces.

"I have a year to train hard and b at my physical peak so far I have just been eating healthy so heres my before photo.wish me luck (sic)".

He said he was training to be in the SAS, but was "dreamin but il giv it a go (sic)".

Upper Hutt woman Sharon Leaf says her son grew up with Smiler and told Fairfax Media he used to call her "mum".

"I'm totally shattered, he was a good boy and this was just totally out of character. It's like one of my own is gone."

John Philipson, 84, was inside McDonald's when Smiler walked into the fast food outlet armed with a gun and says he wanted to try calm him down.

Mr Philipson had been waiting for members of his Tuesday Chaps Club when Smiler entered the store.

"I thought it was a firecracker, I thought, these damn kids are letting crackers go in here. As it turned out, here was Billy the Kid running around here with his rifle."

Mr Philipson says his first reaction when he realised Smiler was holding a gun was to try calm him down.

"My first reaction was to try and placate him. I was going to remonstrate with him but a bloke behind me said, 'C'mon, this guy means business. Let's get out of here'. So at that stage everyone tried to follow us out."

He looked at Mr Philipson and said "you're alright. On your way," Mr Philipson, who lives in Upper Hutt, recalled.

He described him as European, around 160cm tall, with "very wild eyes".

"I couldn't understand it. That's why I wanted to try and counsel him but I never got the opportunity. Maybe it was just as well.

"My first reaction, being an ex-wrestler I was going to have a go at him, but I didn't get the opportunity. I'm a bit old now, which is just as well."

The man shot at a police dog, but missed. "That's when police responded."

He said the large police presence in the town made it "come to life", and he believed police were right in shooting the man dead.

3 News/ RadioLIVE