26 Aug 2014

Shot police officer leaves hospital

8:57 am on 26 August 2014

The police officer hailed a hero after being shot in the lower leg during an alleged carjacking in a Hamilton supermarket carpark has been discharged from hospital.

Hamilton supermarket shooting

Hamilton supermarket shooting Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

A police spokesperson said a man tried to drag a woman from her car in Mill Street before firing a sawn-off shotgun in an ensuing struggle with police yesterday morning.

The man, who was wanted in connection with an armed home invasion on Sunday, also suffered a leg injury. A Waikato Hospital spokesperson said he was in a stable condition, while the police officer had been discharged.

Superintendent Bruce Bird said a decision on charges would be made after the man was interviewed by police today.

The pair were shot when the sawnoff shotgun being carried by the man went off in the Pak'n'Save carpark in Mill Street.

Both suffered non life-threatening injuries to their lower legs.

Before the incident, the police had been tracking a 35-year-old man who was wanted in connection with a home invasion in Kihikihi on Sunday.

They confirmed yesterday the man involved in the shooting and the manhunt were linked.

They said the man had been followed to the carpark by officers tracking a stolen van.

He abandoned the van, confronted a woman and tried to steal her vehicle. Police dogs and officers were trying to take him to the ground when the sawn-off shotgun he was carrying went off, hitting one officer and the man himself.

Officer courageous

Cam Weight, who works at a nearby tavern, said the officer acted courageously as he dragged the man away from a vehicle he was allegedly trying to carjack.

"Quite courageous, actually, to grab a guy ... probably knowing that he had a gun," Mr Weight said.

"We didn't know that at the time but to grab the guy and throw him to the ground."

Police said the woman whose vehicle he tried to take was shaken and was being helped by Victim Support.

Detective Inspector Karl Thornton (left) and Superintendent Bruce Bird at the police media conference in Hamilton.

Detective Inspector Karl Thornton (left) and Superintendent Bruce Bird at the police media conference in Hamilton. Photo: RNZ / Andrew McRae

Mr Bird said it was important the man was caught.

"The actions that this particular person has demonstrated over the reasonably short period of time demonstrates that he is a significant threat; he is a very dangerous criminal that had to be apprehended."

Police found what appeared to be a small bomb in a jacket after the home invasion, and that had been sent for analysis.

Mr Bird said his officers showed real bravery in an effort to protect the public.

"Both myself and the Commissioner of Police are in awe of the absolute courage and dedication to duty of our police officers who apprehended a person that we believe is and was a significant threat to our communities."