Garry Duggan allegedly fought and disarmed his policeman friend after he and a woman were shot.
Several sources have confirmed there was a struggle after Constable Ben McLean allegedly murdered Verity Ann McLean and fired at Duggan in Invercargill on Tuesday night.
Stuff understands Duggan wrested the gun – understood to be a .22 rifle – away from McLean.
McLean allegedly suffered face and head wounds before fleeing.
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Duggan phoned police at 8.19pm and told them what happened.
About 40 minutes later, police said McLean went to the Invercargill Police Station and “handed himself in”.
Southern District Commander, Superintendent Paul Basham said earlier a firearm was recovered at the scene.
Ben McLean and Duggan, a truck driver in his 40s, were both in hospital.
Verity McLean, whose nickname is “Bert”, was living with Duggan at the industrial site on Otepuni Ave, in the suburb of Newfield, at the time of the double shooting.
She and Ben McLean were understood to have recently split.
Duggan’s wife, Rachel, said the only people who “know what was going on” were the three involved.
“No-one else was there apart from Ben, Bert and Garry, it’s their story to tell, not anyone else’s.”
At a bedside court hearing in Southland Hospital on Wednesday, Ben McLean was charged with Verity McLean’s murder and the attempted murder of Duggan. He was remanded in custody to May 18.
The Invercargill community has been in a state of shock after the shooting.
Ben McLean was a policeman in the Southland town for nearly 10 years and worked on road safety campaigns.
Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt felt police were treating the matter in a professional way, despite the accused man being “one of their own”.
VERITY MCLEAN ‘GOOD AS GOLD’ BEFORE SHOOTING
Verity McLean seemed to be “good as gold” when she spoke to a friend around lunch time on Anzac Day.
Her sister, who lives in the Southland city, declined to comment, but friends painted a picture of a “lovely lady” who was a “caring, happy, great mum”.
Phil Brocks, who owns the property where the shooting occurred, said he was in contact with Ben McLean, Verity McLean and Garry Duggan over the past few weeks.
“I was talking to Verity yesterday, and it was about lunch time. She was good as gold,” he said.
“I am close to Ben, but I have been friends with Garry for a long time and he’s a really great guy.”
Another acquaintance of the McLeans, who did not want to be named, said she had been friends with the couple “for years”.
“To me they were just a role-model family. I am sad for everyone involved,” she said.
“They are just lovely people and it’s just devastating for everyone involved.”
‘THIS AFFECTS A LOT OF PEOPLE’
Mayor Tim Shadbolt said on Thursday the double shooting was a “tragic, tragic situation” for the community.
“Invercargill prides itself on being very much a family friendly city, a close-knit community, so this affects a lot of people.”
“I’ve been mayor for 23 years and we certainly haven’t had anything remotely similar to the tragedy.
“Everyone’s heart of course goes out to the children in the situation. It’s just a tragic, tragic situation.”
The McLean family needed “a bit of breathing space”, so the council was helping them organise a spokesperson.
Shadbolt felt police were treating the matter in a professional way, despite the accused man being “one of their own”.
Ben and Verity McLean have three children, who attended Verdon College.
Verdon College principal Jarlath Kelly called the incident a “tragic event for all of the families involved”.
“We were shocked and extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Verity and our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time.
“We will be doing our utmost to support and care for the children, families and students of the College at this extremely difficult and distressing time.”
MAN SEEN ON BIKE
A resident saw a man cycling on Otepuni Ave earlier in the evening who seemed to be “up to no good”.
Terry Brown said the man stopped his bicycle near the train tracks on Lindisfarne St and changed clothes, which were dark brown, or black.
“He took his jacket off and then put another one on. Then biked down Otepuni Avenue.”