23 Oct 2017

West Coast shooter still at large

12:24 pm on 23 October 2017

Police have searched through the night for the suspect in a fatal shooting on the West Coast.

Police tape cordons off the property at Taharoa.

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

A woman, who police believe to be Hayley Williams, 43, of Greymouth, was shot dead at a house in the town at about 4pm yesterday afternoon.

Police believe she knew the shooter, who has not been apprehended despite police, including the Armed Offenders Squad, working through the night.

Inspector Mel Aitken said police urgently wished to speak with George Sean Warren, 45.

Ms Aitken said Mr Warren was Māori, of medium to solid build, and had short or shaved hair.

He could be armed and should not be approached, she said.

Police had found an associate of the shooter and he was helping officers with their inquiries, Ms Aitken said.

Officers had also found the car the suspect was believed to have used when leaving the Greymouth house after the shooting.

Police were conducting a scene examination and also expected a post-mortem to be done today.

Ms Aitken said the shooting had "understandably upset many people in our community".

"Police are doing everything we can to support the family during this difficult time."

She was urging people in the area to call police if they noticed anyone acting suspiciously.

Grey district mayor Tony Kokshoorn said the shooting had shocked the town.

It was possible the person had left town but residents should still be vigilant, he said.

"Police need all the help they can here to apprehend this person so if you do see something untoward ... ring the police and tell them, because the sooner they catch this person, the better."