THE 10-year-old boy who died following a firearm incident on a remote sheep station on the East Cape has today been named as Patrick Brass, of Gisborne.
The boy’s body was removed from the scene yesterday evening and taken to Gisborne Hospital.
A post mortem will be held in Palmerston North tomorrow morning to determine the cause of death and help with the reconstruction of events leading to the death, says Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Scott of Gisborne CIB.
“While police are still attempting to determine the circumstances of the death, what has been established is that if the firearm at the centre of the investigation had been secured correctly, this tragedy would certainly have been preventable,” he said.
“We wish to reinforce to anyone in possession of firearms or ammunition that they secure them correctly, as required under the Arms Act.
The death happened at about 4pm on Tuesday. It is believed the boy was in the company of two similar-aged friends.
Te Kura Mana Maori o Whangaparaoa principal Tui Hana Pook told 3 News it was a tragedy for all the community.
Patrick, a pupil at Kaiti School was described as a humble, quiet and unassuming boy who loved going to school.
“We are very sad to learn of this tragedy,” said Kaiti School board of trustees chairwoman Karla Porou.
“It is a huge loss and we are there for the whanau. He especially loved his soccer,” she said.
The family worked on several stations in the region but were understood to have been at Te Kumi Station for only a few days.
Ken McLanachan, who owns Te Kumi Station, told the New Zealand Herald the boy’s parents were believed to have been working on a neighbouring property when the youngster was killed.
Two friends, both of a similar age, were with the boy when he died, say police.
“The pair ran back to the workers’ quarters where the family was living and alerted adults to call 111,” Mr McLanachan said.
“It’s pretty tough. I know they will be devastated.”
Mr Scott says this is the second fatal incident involving young children and a firearm that the CIB has attended and investigated in the past three years.
A 13-year-old East Coast boy admitted a charge of manslaughter after he shot an 11-year-old boy in July, 2009.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the High Court at Gisborne in October, 2010, on what was scheduled to be the first day of a murder trial.
A death notice in today’s Herald says Patrick is the son of Honey and brother to William, Phoenix and Konah. His grandparents are Kath and Butch Raukawa.