Teens target Aborigines with air-rifle: Court told

LEAH Kate Elliot told Rockhampton Magistrates Court yesterday she heard a group of five youths plan "to go shoot niggers in the park".

The court heard that what had begun as a day at the beach for eight friends turned into a planned drive-by racist shooting throughout Rockhampton on Australia Day this year.

A 13-year-old Aboriginal boy and a 15-year-old Aboriginal girl were injured after they were shot at with an air-rifle.

Hayden John Nitz, 17, Shane Matthew McPherson, 17, Troy Keith Zornig, 17, Scott Henry Warwick-Day, 17, and Timothy John Perry, 17, appeared in court yesterday for a committal hearing on charges including grievous bodily harm and unlawful wounding.

Miss Elliot, 17, was a passenger in one of the two cars involved in the shootings.

She said after dropping Stevie-Lee Elizabeth Savage off at her North Rockhampton house when returning from the beach, the five boys allegedly retrieved an air-rifle from Perry's car boot. "We all got into Tim (Perry's) car - we drove around for a bit then went to south side, that's when we went to the park (surrounded by Alma/Bolsover/William Streets)," Miss Elliot said.

``Tim had the gun pointed out the window towards the Aborigines and he shot.

``They were all just sitting on the grass in the park when Tim pulled the trigger but I didn't see anyone get hurt."

The group then drove to North Rockhampton, after failing to locate people in other city parks, where Nitz allegedly shot a girl in Alexandra Street before shooting a boy in Wilmington Street.

Miss Elliot said Nitz laughed after he shot the young girl but Perry said it was enough.

"We all said it was getting ridiculous," she said. "At this stage everyone was in panic and wanted to get rid of the gun.

"All seven of us drove out past Gracemere where the boys took the gun out."

Child Protection and Investigation Unit (CPIU) senior plain-clothed police officer Marya Groen-int-woud said the group of youths allegedly sourced parks with the intent to follow through with the shooting.

"The level of violence escalated," Ms Groen-int-woud said.

"One of the injuries resulted in breaking of the skin with the slug gun which required surgery to extract. It could have been way more serious."

The two-day committal trail will continue today.

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