Two men out hunting rival gang members shot and killed a random stranger because of the colour of his clothes, it has been reported.
According to media reports in the early hours of May 25 2019, Leroy Poi Dumars Tinei, 27, was driving with Janeiro Jason Tapusoa, 28, who was armed with a loaded semi-automatic rifle.
The High Court at Auckland heard on Wednesday that they pulled up next to two men before spotting Samiuela Anania Tupou at Ōtāhuhu’s Seaside Park.
They were said to have singled Tupou out because of the colour of his clothing and Tapusoa went on to shoot Tupou, 21, a machine operator, three times, Stuff reports.
He was not said to be affiliated to any gang, the court heard, and was murdered because he chose to wear blue that day.
Tinei and Tapusoa were both jailed for life with a minimum non-parole period of 11 years and four months and 13 years and one month respectively.
Crown prosecutor Kristy Li was reported to have said Tapusoa shot Tupou at close range in the chest, right thigh and his back before Tinei drove off.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Li was reported to have said: “His killing was random, without provocation.”
A statement from the Tupou family spoke of the pain at losing him and how they had struggled financially since the death.
He was described as a ‘kind and very humble human being’ as well as a ‘peacemaker.’
Tapusoa’s lawyer Paul Borich QC was reported to have said his client had come from a tough upbringing and went on to turn to gangs for “comfort.”
In sentencing, Justice Walker reportedly described the murder as a “cold-hearted execution-style killing” without any provocation.