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Auckland police shooting: ‘He threatened me with a gun’, woman who chased shooter away told police

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The woman who chased Eli Epiha away after fatally shooting Officer Matthew Hunt and seriously injuring another officer told police she was threatened by a gun.

Natalie Bracken has denied being complicit in the murder, but there is no question that she evicted Epiha from the Massey, West Auckland crime scene.

Eli Bob Sauni Epiha, 25, has admitted to killing Constable Hunt with a military-style semi-automatic rifle and causing dangerous driving in which a member of the public was injured on June 19, 2020.

The scene of the fatal shooting of Constable Matthew Hunt in June 2020. Inset, left to right: Eli Bob Sauni Epiha, Natalie Bracken, Constable Matthew Hunt.

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The scene of the fatal shooting of Constable Matthew Hunt in June 2020. Inset, left to right: Eli Bob Sauni Epiha, Natalie Bracken, Constable Matthew Hunt.

But he denies attempting to kill Constable David Goldfinch, who was shot 10 times.

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The pair are on trial at the High Court in Auckland.

On the day of the shooting, a dark purple Toyota driven by Epiha caught the attention of the two officers and was flagged in the national police intelligence system.

TVNZ POOL/DELIVERED

Constable David Goldfinch describes how the gunman came after him with a gun and how he thought he was going to die.

Constable Goldfinch previously told the court that the pair had been performing police duties on the road with their car stationed on Triangle Rd, in Massey, when Epiha’s “irregular” driving caught his eye before overtaking him on Reynella Dr who had collided with a vehicle that involved a human.

When an unarmed goldfinch exited the police car to approach the scene of the accident, Epiha opened fire and fired at him 10 times.

On Wednesday, Detective Sergeant Ashley Matthews told the court that Bracken was at a Te Atatu address after a warrant for her arrest was issued on June 20.

Upon arrival at the Te Atatu address, he noticed that her hair was wet and appeared to have been recently dyed with color dripping from the back of her hair.

After Bracken was arrested, she tearfully told Matthews how she heard a woman screaming and gunshots.

“He threatened me with a gun and I didn’t know what to do,” Bracken is said to have told Matthews in the back of a police car.

‘I don’t even know him. He ran after the cop… I was just trying to save everyone.”

Natalie Bracken has denied complicity in the murder.

RYAN ANDERSON/Things

Natalie Bracken has denied complicity in the murder.

Bracken’s interview with Matthews was also played out in court where she told the detective she was having a cup of tea and a cigarette with a friend when the dog started barking.

The defendant was visibly emotional during the interrogation and told Matthews that she wanted to get her side of the story out.

After the dog started barking, Bracken told police she went outside and saw a man lying on the ground and his wife screaming.

“He (Epiha) was already shooting at the two officers… the one who was dead was not dead yet.”

“He kept firing at them,” Bracken said.

Bracken said she tried to help the woman and the man and noticed that he was bleeding from the back of his head.

“I yell ‘call the ambulance’, he was still firing and came back to the house.”

Constable Matthew Hunt was fatally shot by Eli Epiha.

Police Ten 7/Screentime

Constable Matthew Hunt was fatally shot by Eli Epiha.

She told Matthews she was walking back to get her phone when Epiha reportedly said “f…… get me in this car now”.

Bracken saw Constable Goldfinch run away screaming “stop,” she claimed.

“I was just scared. He still had the gun out and all,” Bracken said in tears.

Bracken jumped in the car and drove it for about 15 minutes before dropping it off.

Marcus Tiatia’s older brother was in a relationship with Bracken at the time and witnessed part of the incident.

He ran back into his house, followed by Bracken asking for his keys, the court heard earlier.

When he returned outside, his silver Mazda was gone, he said.

The trial before a jury and Judge Geoffrey Venning continues.

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