Kiri Te Kanawa
November 13th, 1990.
This was to be a day the residents of the small seaside town of Aramoana, situated at the mouth of the Otago Harbour, would never forget. One of the residents, David Gray, was in a highly deranged state and he would take his fury out on those around him. Thirty-four hours of shooting saw thirteen people murdered and made this New Zealand's worst mass shooting.
David Gray was considered reclusive by his neighbours. They thought of his activities and lifestyle as somewhat strange, but most considered he was harmless. In hindsight it would be realised just how much his mental and physical state in the months prior to the shootings had deteriorated.
His interests centred mainly around weaponry, survivalist literature, and the reading of warfare magazines. Over a period of time he had amassed a sizeable cache of firearms and ammunition.
At around 8 p.m. Gray got into an argument with his next door neighbour. Soon after this rifle shots were heard. Gray set his neighbour's house on fire and then went outside. As locals came to see what they could do to help with the fire they were greeted by the sight of Gray with a balaclava on his head and a rifle in his hands. It was during this time period that most of the thirteen victims were gunned down.
Sergeant Stewart Guthrie approached Aramoana. As the first police officer on the scene he made efforts to assess the situation and locate Gray. He was also shot and killed. Instructions were given that fire engines were to remain away until the gunman was arrested and the area secured.
In the dark of the very early morning members of the Armed Offenders Squad slowly moved in. They systematically surrounded and entered houses searching for the gunman. Finally he was located and smoke grenades and tear gas thrown. Gray emerged shooting and yelling "Kill Me". Five shots hit him in the right eye and chest. Medical assistance was rendered while Gray continued to remonstrate with police for not killing him outright. He died 15 minutes later.
David Gray's cache of weaponry:
semiautomatic assault rifle
A number of members of the Armed Offenders Squad received Gallantry Awards from the Queen. The thirteen people who lost their lives ranged in age from 6-years-old to 71-years-old. It is thought Gray may have been schizophrenic or otherwise mentally affected.