Fatal police shooting: Officers justified in firing 49 times at murder suspect, IPCA rules

Police were justified in fatally shooting a man after he fired multiple times at officers during a pursuit in a highly populated area in Tauranga, the Independent Police Conduct Authority has found.

On February 11, 2020 Anthony Fane and his brother were suspects in a double homicide at Omanawa Falls in Tauranga, the IPCA said.

Fane was also believed to have killed his partner on February 9, 2020.

On February 13, four armed offender squad (AOS) officers in two separate vehicles were deployed on a ‘reassurance patrol’ in response to the double homicide.

About 7.45pm they came across a Ford Falcon, registered to and being driven by Fane.

This vehicle was not included in the list of vehicles of interest connected to the homicides that the officers had been briefed on.

A pursuit began during which Fane fired shots at the AOS officers while driving through busy residential areas in Tauranga, the IPCA said,

At one point he stopped directly opposite a retirement home, got out of the Falcon, and fired directly at the officers in their cars.

They did not return fire at this point.

The pursuit finished on State Highway 2, where Fane came to a stop. At this point the officers believed Fane was going to get out of the car and shoot at them again.

Two of the officers fired a total of 49 rounds at Fane before the Falcon began rolling forward into some bushes, where the officers found Fane dead.

The IPCA found that the officers were justified in shooting at Fane under sections 39 and 48 of the Crimes Act 1961. Additionally, the Authority found that the information provided by police intelligence to AOS, and general staff, was inadequate.

Police said in a statement today they acknowledged the IPCA’s report.

“As noted by the IPCA, the officers involved displayed a high level of professionalism in relation to this matter,” Bay of Plenty District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said.

“The officers were confronted with an offender who posed a significant risk, both to the officers themselves and to the general public.

“It was extremely fortunate that nobody was seriously injured or killed when Mr Fane shot at the officers on five separate occasions while driving through busy residential areas in Tauranga.

“I am confident the officers involved took the only option available to them in the circumstances to prevent further harm,” McGregor said.

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