NEWS

Erima Thankful To Be Alive After Deadly New Zealand Shooting

She said everyone feared for their lives when they were told that the gunman was on the run and could be somewhere around the school premises.
21 Jun 2020 15:04
Erima Thankful To Be Alive After Deadly New Zealand Shooting
Erima Tuita

A former Fiji national, now residing in Auckland, New Zealand, is thankful to be alive after a “frightening” fatal shooting outside her school premises.

Erima Tuita, 15, from Cautata Village in Tailevu, is a Year 11 student of Massey High School. She was in school on Friday when the shooting incident, that killed a Police officer and injured another, occurred during a routine traffic stop.

New Zealand media reported that the two officers pulled over a car with two passengers on Friday morning when one of them began firing at the officers.

Erima said it was around 11.10 am (NZT) when they heard gunshots.

“It was during our morning tea break, everything happened in an instant and everyone was just shocked.

“Our teachers announced that a shooting had just taken place and for everyone to rush into the nearest classroom they could get into and lock up all windows and doors.”

She said everyone feared for their lives when they were told that the gunman was on the run and could be somewhere around the school premises.

“We had to hide under the desks, lock all the windows, we had to barricade the doors with a desk, and we had to stay far away from windows as far as possible.

“I came into a classroom a little bit later and I saw the students worried, students were told to hide under their desks.”

Erima said she hid inside a classroom with 35 other students.

“I just gathered my friends under a table and we started to cry and pray.

“I was so scared and worried and I only prayed that no one was going to be hurt and that everyone could return home safely.”

Erima said after three hours, their teachers told them that the gunman had been arrested.

“We couldn’t wait for our parents to come and pick us up from school. We were just relieved when we were told that we could leave and that they had captured the culprit.

“I am just grateful and I thank God that none of us were injured or became victims of that deadly shooting.”

Erima and her family migrated to New Zealand when she was one year old.

Edited by Ivamere Nataro

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