Family in fear after ‘gang hit’

Friday May 04, 2018 Written by Published in Regional

NEW ZEALAND – The family of a young Tongan father killed in a gang suspected shooting in Mangere on Tuesday fear for their lives as the gunmen remain on the loose.

 

The brother of a man killed in a double shooting believes he died as a result of gang activity gone wrong.

Epalahame – known as  ‘Hame’ – Tu’uheava, 28, was found dead next to his seriously injured wife, Mele 25, on Tuesday morning on Greenwood Road, Mangere.

?Both had gunshot wounds to their upper bodies.

An uncle of Abraham Tu’uheava’s, Robb Nai, said family was scared for their safety.

“No one knows the truth as to what has happened so I guess everyone is trying to stay out of anyone’s way,” Nai said.

A friend, who did not want to be identified, believed a gang based in Australia had sent someone to New Zealand to kill Tu’uheava.

Tu’uheava was seen in Auckland recently, which was a surprise to his friends and family who thought he was in Australia, the friend said.

Hame’s younger brother, Laua Tu’uheava, said he believed his brother’s killing was planned.

“I reckon it was set up, obviously he got shot so it must have all been planned.”

The 23-year-old said he and his brother were both members of the Crips gang, but Hame had become more family-oriented since the birth of his son, now eight years old.

“I think something must have went wrong. The way I’m thinking is something went wrong and then they killed him.”

Police said they were looking for two suspects of Tongan descent, one slightly taller than the other.

“The taller one possibly has a little bit of a hunchback,” said police Detective Inspector Faa Va’aelu.

Laua Tu’uheava said he had no idea who could have “done that” to his brother and his wife. He said the pair had no enemies that he was aware of.

He said Hame was a Crips gang member since he got kicked out of school, up until the day he died.

“It wasn’t just about being in a gang, it was like family, a brotherhood. We all grew up in the same area. Drinking, partying, getting into fights.

“But that was the old days, now everything has changed and all of the boys are growing up and having families.”

A close friend of Hame’s, who did not want to be identified, said on Thursday he also believed Hame died as a result of a gang hit.

He said he thought a gang based in Australia had sent someone to New Zealand to kill the 28 year old.

Laua Tu’uheava said the family were pulling together and trying to remain strong.

“There is sadness, but we just keep it inside, it’s too late, we can’t bring him back”.

Hame, who was also known as Abraham, came from a large family of four brothers and two sisters.

“He was always really humble growing up, and was a bit of a clown. He loved to swim.”

The family had moved to New Zealand from Tonga when they were children, and his father had died about four years ago, Laua Tu’uheava said.

He said Hame was a truck driver, and loved spending time with his young family at the beach and in particular, teaching his son to fish.

“He was a loving father,” his brother said

The child was being looked after by his grandmother, while his mother recovered in hospital.  A hospital spokesman said the 25-year-old mother was in a stable condition on Thursday morning.

Laua Tu’uheava said his brother’s wife was doing alright, but he hadn’t had much time to catch up with her due to funeral preparations.

Tu’uheava was a member of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga in Otahuhu.

The church minister said he was waiting to hear from Tu’uheava’s mother before deciding on a service.

Laua Tu’uheava said: “I just want to send a message to everyone in south Auckland to be careful and learn from this.

“I don’t want anyone else to go through what my brother went through. Especially for my mother, you know no-one would want to bury their child.

“If anyone knows anything let us or the police know, because my brother deserves justice.”          - PNC sources

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