31 Oct 2014

Police hunt for gunman in Invercargill

6:34 pm on 31 October 2014

Police hunting a gunman who robbed a dairy in Invercargill this afternoon say they have security footage of the hold-up and are following various lines of enquiry.

The masked man entered the Otatara Four Square store just before 2pm, pointed a gun, and demanded money from the shop assistant before fleeing with cash.

The shop assistant was shaken but unharmed after the man, wearing a Halloween mask, pointed a gun at her face and demanded cash, Southland police commander Lane Todd said.

"The shop assistant is being supported by Victim Support and with police."

She gave him some money and he ran off.

Mr Todd said the suspect was Pakeha and was wearing a dark hoodie.

School locked down

The suburb was partly locked down, including 326 pupils at the local primary school.

Hundreds of anxious parents waited outside the police cordon, as one by one the pupils were brought out of the cordoned-off area.

School board chair Warren Ruwhiu, said it took all afternoon to get them out and many were very distressed.

"Oh yes they were a little anxious, but the staff and the police really looked after them very well. The parents were glad to see them." Mr Ruwhiu said.

Otatara residents were being asked to secure sheds and outbuildings, but not to approach anyone suspicious.

A helicopter was being used to to try and locate the gunman.