Katherine Hayton | Shooting in Ashburton
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02 Sep / Shooting in Ashburton

I think the worst thing in the world is to leave for work one morning, and never return home again. Because someone else made the decision that you would die.

Yesterday, there were six Work and Income New Zealand employees who turned up to work for Monday – already the worst day of the working week – and only three returned home. One is in hospital, the other two deceased.

A gunman opened fire in the morning, systematically shooting targets in the small office. Except they weren’t targets, they were people. And their co-workers and clients had to run for their lives; running away with legs that probably felt like they were moving through concrete. Running while waiting to see if they would feel a bullet in their backs, hoping they wouldn’t. Terrified.

The man got tired of shooting people and left the office to make his get-away. His bike was chained up to a post at the corner of the street. Because that’s what you do, isn’t it? This man is armed with a sawn-off shotgun, he’s about to go into an office with the intention of shooting people to death, but he chained up his bike. Because it might get stolen.

In the getaway he left his bike helmet lying on the street.

It’s awful. It’s unexpected, but at the same time it’s always expected.

I work in insurance and we’re security aware, but I’ve still lived with the thought in the back of my head for the past four years that there are a lot of frustrated people, and a lot of desperate people, and a lot of angry people, and that one day this might be happening in my office to my co-workers, to me.

It’s happened previously to government workers, to bank tellers, to office workers. And one day it may happen again.

The worst thing in the world. To leave for work one morning, and never return home again.

By Katherine Hayton in Katherine Hayton's Blog

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