The man gunned down in Queen St on Thursday night had only moved to New Zealand last year and is being remembered as an “angel” who impacted multiple lives.
The tribute comes as three gunmen are on the run after at least three shootings in the past week, killing three people and injuring one.
The Queen St victim has been described by a friend as an “old soul trapped in a young body” and someone who encouraged so many people to chase their dreams.
A homicide investigation was launched after he died from a gunshot wound following an altercation on Thursday night.
“We are still processing it all – it doesn’t feel real. It just hurts so much that it had to be him,” said the friend.
Police were initially called following reports of a fight between a group of people on the corner of Fort St and Queen St.
Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Bolton said a small group of people started fighting before one offender pulled out a firearm and fired up to four shots.
One person was shot in the head and another in the abdomen; the shooter fled the scene on an electric Lime scooter, wearing distinctive red and black pants and a red hat.
Bolton said the man “was taken off life support and sadly succumbed to his injuries with family beside him”. The other shot man remains in a stable condition at Auckland City Hospital.
The dead man moved to New Zealand from Brisbane, Australia in 2022 to “chase his dreams”, the friend said.
“He worked bloody hard to get to where he was. He was never afraid to take on anything and was always stepping up to the mark.
“The best way that I can describe him is that he was an angel and impacted so many people’s lives. He was truly full of life,” the man’s friend said.
Police are searching for 24-year-old Dariush Talagi in connection with the shooting. Talagi remains on the run and has distinctive facial tattoos.
Bolton said Talagi was “considered dangerous” and called for Talagi to hand himself in.
Anyone who sees Talagi or knows of his whereabouts should call police on 111 and quote file number 230804/3339.
“At the end of the day, it’s just shocking how people can run around with guns,” the victim’s friend said.
“Obviously, the police are trying to do their best but it just shows there is a lot more that needs to be done.
“I know a lot of people have been in my shoes, but for it to happen to us in our circle, the realisation of it is that our country is not safe. It could happen to any man or woman and that’s the reality we are facing.”
The Queen St shooting came two weeks after and barely two blocks from where 24-year-old Matu Reid opened fire at a construction site in downtown Auckland, killing Solomona To’ot’oo and Tupuga Sipiliana and injuring numerous others, including police officers.
Reid exchanged gunfire with police before they found him dead in a lift shaft from self-inflicted wounds.
Thursday’s Queen St shooting was one of at least three fatal shootings across New Zealand over the past week, with three different homicide investigations launched.
A man died on Saturday evening after being shot at an Auckland reserve.
Police were called to Taurima Reserve in Point England about 2.40pm on Saturday following several reports of disorder and sounds of gunshots.
The critically injured man took himself to Auckland Hospital with gunshot wounds but later died.
Police have launched a homicide investigation and said in a statement they believe the two people involved were known to each other.
“We would like to reassure people that this was an isolated incident, with no ongoing risk believed to be posed to the wider public.”
Despite this, the gunman remained at large with police working to identify and locate them.
Police would like to hear from anyone who was in the immediate area at the time and can be contacted on 105, referencing the job number P05557214.
Armed police were seen guarding Middlemore Hospital on Saturday night after another person showed up with a gunshot wound. Police were yesterday investigating whether it was linked to the homicide in Point England.
Another homicide investigation was launched today after a man was killed in a firearms incident at Palmerston North.
Police said they were called to the Croydon Rd address about 2.35pm after a report of a gun being fired.
One person was found with critical injuries and died at the scene a short time later, police said. The Herald understands the shooting is gang-related.
A Hato Hone St John spokesperson said one ambulance, one rapid response vehicle and an operations manager responded to the incident.
Enquiries are ongoing to find the shooter and police say they would like to hear from anyone in the area who saw anything suspicious around the time of the incident.
If you can help, call 105 and quote event number P055583482 or information can be shared anonymously through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.