Homeless man ‘kills two New Zealand welfare workers’ after describing his benefit struggles in local paper

A homeless man has been arrested after two welfare workers were killed and a third critically injured in shooting

Rose Troup Buchanan
Monday 01 September 2014 15:17
An armed officer stands in front of the crime scene in New Zealand
An armed officer stands in front of the crime scene in New Zealand

A homeless man in New Zealand who allegedly shot dead two welfare staff members, critically injuring a third, has been detained after a seven-hour manhunt.

Only 12 days ago Russell Tully, 48, who was living in a tent near Ashburton, on the south-eastern New Zealand coast, gave an interview to a local newspaper discussing his benefits and struggle to find somewhere to live.

A man, alleged to be Tully, wearing a black balaclava and carrying a shotgun entered the Work and Income office in Ashburton, where shots were then heard at about 10am (local) today.

Suspect Tully was found on a rural property near Lake Hood at 5pm. No charges have yet been laid against him, said Canterbury district commander superintendent Gary Knowles.

Tully was found with minor dog bites and police are continuing to search for the missing weapon.

A crime scene is set up at Ashburton Work and Income Centre after two people were shot dead

Superintendent Knowles said: "Nothing will give the families who lost loved ones closure but I think a community can go to sleep tonight with the thought that the person we believe may be responsible is in custody."

Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, one witness reported seeing a worker from the Cass Street office run after the shooter, yelling: “You b*****d, you’ve blown her to bits.”

The witness, who preferred to remain anonymous, said: "It was just surreal. I stopped and got out of the van because I thought 'that's not right' then I heard two shots and I legged it straight to the office."

Tully, who suffers from a skin condition affecting his joints, had been unable to get work since moving back to New Zealand from Australia where he worked as a miner.

In the interview he said: "I want somewhere to live. I can't see why I can't move in here when no one is living here".

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