Thursday, 15 July 2010 - 2:31pm |
National News

Courageous injured officers will soon be home

2 min read

The two Christchurch police officers who were shot and injured in the city on Tuesday morning are expected to be released from hospital later today.

Senior Constable Bruce Lamb, 50, and Constable Mitchel Alatalo, 30, are recovering well although both are still suffering the painful effects of significant injuries.

Superintendent Dave Cliff, Canterbury District Commander, said the physical and mental fortitude of both men combined with the skill of Christchurch Hospital staff has contributed to the officers' wellbeing.

"It's great news that Bruce and Mitch are doing so well and it's a great relief for their families and friends, both in and outside of the police.

"Bruce and Mitch are getting better by the day but they still have a painful recovery ahead of them. I know both of them are itching to get home and try and get some normality back into their lives. We will be continuing to support the men and their families throughout this process."

Superintendent Cliff said police now understand there has been some confusion around photos that were taken at the scene by a photographer from the The Star newspaper and whether or not they showed Constable Alatalo. Police are happy to clarify that the photo does depict the injured constable being helped to a patrol car by another officer.

"The events on Tuesday were fast moving and each day we are learning more about what took place in Buccleugh Street. It's a testimony to the courage of Bruce and Mitch that even after they had been shot they continued to do everything possible to protect others from being hurt.

"Mitch did not immediately realise the severity of his wound. Once he scrambled out of the house he was assisted by other staff. He donned ballistic body armour and a Bushmaster rifle which had been brought to the scene after the shooting. Mitch and others worked together to contain the scene and ensure there was no risk to anyone else.

"Despite being shot in the face Bruce too made it back to his van and radioed Comms. This meant help was quickly on the scene and that other staff knew that an armed response was required. Both men were reluctant to leave their roles but the severity of their injuries meant they needed to get to hospital as quickly as possible."

Superintendent Cliff said that preliminary information about incidents is released as quickly as possible based on what is known at the time. "At this point we are still to formally interview Bruce and Mitch about what took place. It will be several days before they are well enough for this to happen.

Superintendent Cliff said police really appreciate the interest and support from media and the public following Tuesday's shooting.

"A big thank you from Canterbury Police, and particularly from the injured officers and their families, for the many acts of kindness we continue to receive. This is a wonderful community in which to live and work. The response from people here and throughout New Zealand has been tremendous."

The officers thank media for the interest but ask that their privacy be respected while they recover from the injuries.


Released by:

Kaye Calder
Senior Media Adviser: District Liaison
Mobile: 027 241 6305