19 December 2022 |
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Mongrel Mob member Daniel Eliu, 46, was shot outside of Papatoetoe SDA Community Church on Saturday, December 17th, in what police are calling a targeted attack. Eliu had been attending a gathering at the Adventist church called True Stories, a program run by the Grace Foundation, which seeks to improve the lives of people from marginalized backgrounds. According to Newshub New Zealand, the meeting was for people trying to turn their lives around.
People inside “said they heard popping sounds and didn’t realize what had happened until they saw Eliu stumble” outside. Co-founder of the Grace Foundation, David Letele Sr. (father of retired Kiwi professional boxer Brown Butterbean), was one of the first on the scene, attempting to resuscitate Eliu. He performed first aid and CPR before emergency services arrived, but Eliu did not survive, according to Stuff News New Zealand.
Members were congregated at Papatoetoe for a Christmas church service that morning, but the service was delayed because of the shooting. Phillip Barber, who was inside the church at the time of the incident, told Newshub that rumors started going around that something was happening outside. They were told not to leave the premises.
Detective Inspector Tofilau Faamanuia Va’aelua said the shooting appears to be an isolated incident, as the victim was deliberately targeted. Police are following positive lines of enquiry to locate the offender, and the people who were present at the church are assisting police with their investigation, Det Insp Va’aelua said. Footage from the scene showed multiple Mongrel Mob members outside the church after the event, along with confused members, and many first responders. Up to 25 police cars showed up on the premises after the incident.
Letele, from the Grace Foundation, posted on social media pleading for “peace and calm at this difficult time,” encouraging gang members to “let the dust of this tragedy settle.”