New Zealand police arrest alleged gunman after manhunt and fatal shooting of police officer
New Zealand police have arrested an alleged gunman and charged him with the murder of a police officer after an hours-long manhunt west of Auckland.
- A 24-year-old man has been arrested and charged with the shooting
- The man is set to appear in court tomorrow
- Last year NZ enacted new gun control laws banning the deadliest types of semiautomatic weapons
The 24-year-old man was arrested late on Friday and charged with multiple serious offences including murder, attempted murder and dangerous driving causing injury.
One police officer was killed, and another seriously injured on Friday morning during what Police Commissioner Andrew Coster described as a “routine traffic stop”.
Mr Coster said both officers were unarmed when they were shot by a gunman who used a “long-barrelled firearm”. The situation “escalated quickly, if not immediately”, he said.
A member of the public was also hit by the alleged gunman’s car and seriously injured, police said.
The alleged offender will appear in Waitakere District Court on Saturday local time, police said in a statement.
“The investigation into this incident is ongoing and police are not able to rule out the possibility of further persons being charged,” the statement said.
Police earlier released a series of posts on Twitter which revealed police were responding “to an unfolding serious incident in Massey, West Auckland”.
“At around 10:30am, a police unit has performed a routine traffic stop on Reynella Drive. There have been shots fired at police officers. Two officers have been shot and have been seriously injured,” the posts read.
“A member of the public has also been hit by the vehicle and has been injured.
“The offender has fled the scene in a vehicle and police have a large presence actively searching for the offender.”
Local media The New Zealand Herald reported that armed police stormed a house on Rena Place in West Harbour shortly before 2:30pm local time.
Police said both the officer and injured member of the public remain in Auckland Hospital in a stable condition.
The vehicle, a silver Mazda sedan, was later found abandoned at a nearby location.
Eight schools were placed into lockdown during the day, but it was later lifted.
Witness describes seeing officer on the ground
Witness Elaine Taniela told The New Zealand Herald she was at home when she heard gunshots.
She said a friend who was on his way to her house at the time described seeing an officer on the ground shaking, as if he was having a seizure.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the news was devastating.
“To lose a police officer is to lose someone working for all of us, but also a family member, someone’s loved one and friend,” she said in a statement.
New Zealand last year enacted new gun control laws banning the deadliest types of semiautomatic weapons after a mass shooting in which a gunman killed 51 people at two Christchurch mosques during Friday prayers.
Cordons are in place and schools in the immediate area were advised to lock down.
Just yesterday, New Zealand passed a second set of gun reforms prompted by the 2019 Christchurch massacre.
The tougher gun laws will take effect next week.
The most significant change is the new firearms registry, which licence holders will be required to update as they buy or sell guns.