9 Jun 2012

Hunt for gang member after officer shot at

6:03 am on 9 June 2012

Police are hunting for a gang member who fired at an officer in central Auckland early on Friday.

The officer was trying to retrieve keys from a motorist on Mayoral Drive when he was shot at by the passenger about 1am.

Detective Inspector Scott Baird says up to two shots were fired by what is believed to be a weapon similar to a police Glock pistol.

The constable was not hit, but the shot came so close the man suffered burns to a forearm and has been offered counselling.

On Friday afternoon, police searched properties in the suburbs of Glenn Innes and Otara, but have not yet found Murray Toleafua who they believe is the shooter.

Police say Toleafua is part of the Tribesmen gang, and is dangerous and should not be approached. They are also looking for Nadia Ball who was also in the car.

About 20 detectives are working on the case and police are urging Toleafoa to give himself up.

The incident once again brought calls from the Police Association for frontline officers to wear guns on their hips.

In April last year, the Police Commissioner made access to firearms easier with an order to have all patrol cars fitted with safes that carry a Taser, a Glock pistol and a Bushmaster rifle.

Deputy Commissioner Mike Bush says so far, only police in the Northland area have that capability.

Mr Bush says officers wearing a gun on their hip would not have prevented Friday's incident, because it was a complete surprise to everyone and illustrates the inherent dangers police face.