Killer still on the loose
YOUR HELP IS NEEDED
The cold- blooded murder of George Taiaroa last Tuesday evening remains a mystery.
Mr Taiaroa, a 67- year- old roadworker for HEB construction, was shot last Tuesday at a traffic stop at the Tirohanga Bridge, near Atiamuri.
Police yesterday set up road checkpoints to try to identify other potential witnesses who are regular users of the local road network and may have travelled through the area at the same time last week when Mr Taiaroa was shot.
Last week police dive squad members also swept the neighbouring river for clues.
Mr Taiaroa, who lived in Hamilton, was laid to rest on Saturday in Otaki.
Detective Inspector Mark Loper, who is heading the case, said police have sought video footage from cab- mounted cameras from inside trucks that were in the area around the time of the shooting.
They also want farmers with security cameras to come forward as the killer may have used rural and forest roads when they fled.
The police are interested in sighting a blue four-wheel-drive, similar to a Jeep Cherokee. The team of more than 30 officers is focusing on a short time between 2.30pm and about 3.20pm last Tuesday, and want to speak with everyone who crossed the oneway bridge in Tram Rd during this time.
Mr Loper said motiveless killings are ‘‘rare.’’
‘‘ Random, motiveless homicides are incredibly rare in New Zealand. Experience and crime science tells us that crime is not random,’’ he said.
‘‘Until we establish a motive it is impossible to answer the question ‘Why George?’.’’
Mr Loper said it was possible the killer did not know Mr Taiaroa and that the tragedy may have been ‘‘ prompted by some event on the roadway’’.
‘‘What we do know is that people will rarely kill without motivation and, if we can identify that motivation, then we will be a step closer to catching George’s killer.’’
Police are being cautious with the information they disclose, unable to put rumours to rest as they investigate all leads.
‘‘With every homicide investigation there will inevitably be rumour and speculation mixed up with fact,’’ Mr Loper said.
‘‘Police will not be entering into commentary on specific pieces of information that may or may not sit within the investigation, as to do so could jeopardise its progress.
‘‘Suffice to say the team welcome all information and whether it is provided as rumour or fact, its relevance to the inquiry will be assessed.’’
Criminologist Greg Newbold said the killing appeared more like an ‘‘organised hit’’ than a random ‘‘thrill shooting’’.
‘‘It’s starting to look more like an organised hit because they haven’t found the car and the lack of evidence suggests it’s more organised,’’ he said.
‘‘If it was a random shooting, they would have left clues everywhere.’’
Anyone with information can contact the investigation team directly on 0800 Kingswood ( 0800 546 479). Alternatively information can be provided anonymously on Crimestoppers – 0800 555111.
Lop’er – Detective Inspector Mark YOUR HELP IS NEEDED: George Taiaroa was murdered last Tuesday and police need your help to catch his killer.