Images of the Ashburton rampage have been released.
Russell John Tully walked into the Work and Income New Zealand offices in Ashburton on the morning of 1 September 2014 armed with a shotgun. He intended to shoot as many Work and Income staff as he could. He shot four female office workers.
Peggy Noble was “blasted out of her chair” when Tully fired into her chest. Then turned to shoot other people as they fled the building.
Tully was most dissatisfied with Leigh Cleveland, who he found at the read of the building. He shot her three times, killing her.
Lindy Curtis was hiding beneath her desk when Tully discharged his weapon seriously wounding her. She played dead to avoid a second shot.
Kim Adams was shot at as she ran out the back door. Tully threatened to shoot a fifth person, who didn’t work in the building, if he didn’t “back off”.
David Cooze’s account:
David Cooze said he went to the office to drop in a medical certificate. He was standing at the reception desk when someone came from the side, wearing a balaclava, and he then saw a gun.
The gunman had white skin visible through the balaclava. He raised the gun at the receptionist, Peggy Noble, and fired and he felt a slap on his face. He saw Noble “blown out of her chair”.
The gunman turned and went for the next worker. “I knew I had to get out of there,” Cooze said. He pushed the woman behind him in the queue towards the door and grabbed a security guard by the arm.
As he was going out the door he heard a second shot. “I knew another person had been shot.”
He then had the confrontation when he saw the gunman leave the building… read on
Security guard ran off
The security guard, who was supposed to be there to provide some measure of protection for staff “ran off” after seeing Ms Noble get shot. Neville Tahere only returned after seeing the gunman leave the premises. source
Secret report: Ministry warned 2 years previously. ‘She’ll be right’
WorkSafe New Zealand later prosecuted the Ministry of Social Development for not protecting the safety of its employees at work. Two years previously It had been warned its open plan offices posed a risk to staff and left them open to public attacks.
A secret security report warned that Ministry of Social Development staff were vulnerable to public attacks two years before two people were shot dead at the Winz office in Ashburton.
The report, commissioned after an attack on an employee in 2012, warned that the ministry’s open-plan offices presented a risk to staff if someone entered with a gun or other weapon.
“This wasn’t a freak accident, this was building up, this was coming,” a source familiar with the case said. source
Interestingly, an ‘independent’ review of the government department by a former police commissioner failed to find any problems. How did Rob Robinson fail to pick up the warnings contained in a 2012 report carried out by an independent consultancy firm who’d visited the Ashburton office, in which the open plan layout had been criticized? The 2012 report produced a ‘road-map’ for security improvements which was underway at the time of the shootings. WorkSafe was able to access and use that document it in their prosecution, so how did it get missed during the review?
An independent review last year, led by former Police Commissioner Rob Robinson, found there was nothing the ministry could have done to prevent the incident, but in March WorkSafe announced it was prosecuting the ministry for failing to take all practicable steps to ensure the safety of its employees. source