20 Nov 2017

Police name man sought over Wellington taxi shooting

5:39 pm on 20 November 2017

Wellington police have named the man they are seeking over the shooting of a taxi driver on Saturday night.

Dylan Nuku

Dylan Nuku Photo: Supplied / NZ Police

The driver, Alem, has been discharged from hospital after suffering a wounded shoulder. Alem, who is from Ethiopia, said there was no argument over the fare - the couple got out of his car without paying.

The man then pulled out what looked like a pistol, told Alem to get out the car and when he refused, shot him.

After reviewing the camera footage from the taxi, police said this afternoon they were seeking 26-year-old Dylan Nuku over the incident.

Police said Mr Nuku, who is 158cm tall, is believed to be armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

Detective Senior Sergeant Warwick McKee has appealed for Mr Nuku to hand himself in. He said a number of search warrants had been carried out today and police were actively searching for him.

Alem said he feared the gunman would kill him.

Alem, who is recovering in hospital, said he feared the gunman would kill him. Photo: RNZ / Charlie Dreaver

Drivers not prepared to face weekend shifts

Meanwhile, the Taxi Federation is warning that people may find it increasingly difficult to catch a cab on Friday and Saturday nights if violence against drivers worsened.

Spokesperson John Hart said alcohol and increasing drug use by people meant many taxi drivers were now reluctant to work weekends.

"It's very, very difficult to get taxi drivers out there on Friday and Saturday nights, because of the dangers. Many of them say they are just not prepared to face that, and don't go out."

Mr Hart said the shooting showed that all passenger vehicles should have security cameras and panic buttons.

"It really just reinforces our view that security cameras are essential in all small person vehicles. There was one in this vehicle and it will help to identify the people responsible - and duress alarms, panic buttons that give the driver ability to summon help by pushing a button - are absolutely essential."

After a law change last year, cameras are still mandatory for traditional cabs but not for app-based passenger services like Uber.

The Ethiopian community has asked for donations to help Alem via a Facebook page and website.