15-year-old for­mer Fi­jian na­tional thank­ful to be alive af­ter deadly NZ shoot­ing

Fiji Sun - - FRONT PAGE - INOKE RABONU Edited by Ivamere Nataro Feed­back: inoke.rabonu@fi­jisun.com.fj

Aformer Fiji na­tional, now re­sid­ing in Auck­land, New Zealand, is thank­ful to be alive af­ter a “fright­en­ing” fa­tal shoot­ing out­side her school premises. Erima Tuita, 15, from Cau­tata Vil­lage in Tailevu, is a Year 11 stu­dent of Massey High School. She was in school on Fri­day when the shoot­ing in­ci­dent, that killed a Po­lice of­fi­cer and in­jured an­other, oc­curred dur­ing a rou­tine traf­fic stop.

New Zealand me­dia re­ported that the two of­fi­cers pulled over a car with two pas­sen­gers on Fri­day morn­ing when one of them be­gan fir­ing at the of­fi­cers.

Erima said it was around 11.10am (NZT) when they heard gun­shots.

“It was dur­ing our morn­ing tea break, ev­ery­thing hap­pened in an in­stant and ev­ery­one was just shocked.

“Our teach­ers an­nounced that a shoot­ing had just taken place and for ev­ery­one to rush into the near­est class­room they could get into and lock up all win­dows and doors.”

She said ev­ery­one feared for their lives when they were told that the gun­man was on the run and could be some­where around the school premises.

“We had to hide un­der the desks, lock all the win­dows, we had to bar­ri­cade the doors with a desk, and we had to stay far away from win­dows as far as pos­si­ble.

“I came into a class­room a lit­tle bit later and I saw the stu­dents wor­ried, stu­dents were told to hide un­der their desks.”

Erima said she hid in­side a class­room with 35 other stu­dents.

“I just gath­ered my friends un­der a ta­ble and we started to cry and pray.

“I was so scared and wor­ried and I only prayed that no one was go­ing to be hurt and that ev­ery­one could re­turn home safely.”

Erima said af­ter three hours, their teach­ers told them that the gun­man had been ar­rested.

“We couldn’t wait for our par­ents to come and pick us up from school. We were just re­lieved when we were told that we could leave and that they had cap­tured the cul­prit.

“I am just grate­ful and I thank God that none of us were in­jured or be­came vic­tims of that deadly shoot­ing.”

Erima and her fam­ily mi­grated to New Zealand when she was one year old.

Erima Tuita

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