Police mark anniversary of shootings

Thursday October 19, 2017 Written by Published in Local
A Cook Islands Police parade and fl ag-raising ceremony yesterday morning marked the anniversary of the triple shooting tragedy last year in Vaimaanga. 17101804 A Cook Islands Police parade and fl ag-raising ceremony yesterday morning marked the anniversary of the triple shooting tragedy last year in Vaimaanga. 17101804

The Cook Islands Police Service yesterday morning marked the anniversary of the shooting tragedy that claimed the lives of three people in Vaimaanga in October 2016.

 

An early mass held at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, by Bishop Paul Donoghue, gave officers a chance to reflect on last year’s incident and to remember those that passed away.

This was followed by a parade and flag-raising ceremony in front of Police Headquarters in Avarua.

Police Commissioner Maara Tetava said: “This morning was about remembering those who passed away in that tragic event, and for us to reflect on what we did, the courage and the sacrifice and commitment our officers went through over the course of those two days.”

He also said he was very thankful to Bishop Donoghue and the Catholic community for including the police service in their mass yesterday.

“One year ago we did exactly the same. Following the shooting, the whole police force went to St Josephs.”

Tetava said he had also reflected on his officers yesterday, appreciating the work that they do, day-in, day-out.

“I’m a lot more confident 12 months down the road, of the police service being able to deal with anything that comes our way.”

Meanwhile, the Cook Islands Police Service gun amnesty and firearms training continues in Mitiaro with a sweep of the Southern Group islands, which they plan on completing by the end of the year.

The initiative includes making sure people are properly trained, that firearms are checked, and due diligence on gun owners is also completed.

Last year’s triple fatality, a murder-suicide, was sparked by the absconding from custodial work by inmate Chris Rimamotu, and his subsequent gunning down of former partner Mary Dean, and her partner Roger Tauarea.

Tetava, was part of the armed frontline cordon, which was fired upon, as it closed in on Rimamotu.

A subsequent review of the incident resulted in a number of recommendations in what is referred to as the McDermott Report. Of the recommendations related to the police, the service has met nearly all of them, said Tetava.

He added that following the recommendations in the report, training was ongoing.

“And equipping our people with the right tools to do their job has been paramount for us”.                                                    

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