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Neighbours tried to revive teen shot with airgun

Published: 9:46AM Sunday January 13, 2013 Source: ONE News

Police are warning that airguns are powerful and potentially deadly weapons, following the death of an Auckland teenager.

An 18-year-old has died after being shot in the abdomen with an airgun at an Auckland address last night.

A group of five friends were shooting cans in the backyard of the property at a Manurewa address, as well as drinking alcohol, when the teenager was shot, police told ONE News.

The youth was given medical treatment at the scene, with the assistance of neighbours, before being taken to Middlemore Hospital.

He died in hospital shortly after arriving.

At this stage, police say there is no evidence to suggest the shooting was intentional.

"It looks like they were having some target practice with some cans at the rear of the property," said Detective Inspector Dave Lynch.

"We are unsure exactly how much alcohol had been consumed. They certainly were drinking," he said.

A neighbour told ONE News that a person at the address had run out on to the street early evening looking for someone who could perform CPR.

The neighbour, her father and uncle tried to revive the teenager, who she says was unconscious and bleeding from his side.

She was told by the group of youths that he had stepped in to the line of fire accidentally.

Dangerous weapon

Neighbours told ONE News reporter Lisa Owen that they got the impression the people shooting at the property thought of the gun like a BB gun, and were not aware of how dangerous or powerful it was.

The handgun involved was a Crosman Brand .177 Calibre Nitro Venom Break Barrell Air Rifle.

No gun licence is required to buy such a gun, and users and owners only need to be 18-years-old to purchase the airgun.

Undercover police officer Don Wilkinson was murdered with an air rifle in Auckland in 2008.

But gun shop owner Ron Young says that it all comes down to whether the guns are used responsibly.

"You can drive a car at the age of 18, that's a lot more lethal than an airgun will ever be."

"These guns need to be treated as firearms and that includes being responsible and not using them in a  built up area certainly where there is any potential for the pellets to go anywhere other than the intended target."

Police said the investigation will determine whether anyone will face charges as a result of the death.

They are not looking for anyone else in connection with the shooting and have recovered an airgun and an air rifle from the scene.

Lynch said that airguns are powerful weapons which need to be handled in the same manner as firearms and certainly not used by anyone under the influence of alcohol.

A post mortem examination is expected to be carried out today, and police say they will release the victim's name tomorrow.