31 Jan 2019

Police fire shots to stop car in alleged firearms incident fleeing across Auckland

8:48 pm on 31 January 2019

Police say members of the public are lucky to have not been hurt in a chase across Auckland in what's been described as a highly dangerous and reckless driver.

Police generic

Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Multiple shots were reportedly fired following an altercation in Northcote on Potter Ave, and police were notified at 3.12pm.

No-one was injured in the firearms incident.

A male fled the scene a short time later in a red Holden Sedan, where he was observed by Eagle helicopter driving southbound on the Northern Motorway.

The car was seen travelling onto the North Western Motorway before turning around and continuing towards the city.

Police said the car was seen weaving in and out of traffic at dangerously high speed, before going back onto the Northern Motorway exiting at Onewa Road.

The driver is believed to have discarded a firearm out of the car in Northcote, police said.

The vehicle continued to flee, continuing back on the motorway where it travelled down to the Southern Motorway.

Police said that one of their cars engaged with the Holden Sedan, but it still failed to stop.

Police said they abandoned pursuing the driver due to the reckless driving.

The Armed Offenders Squad and Dog Squad were also called to respond to the incident in.

The fleeing vehicle continued to be monitored by Eagle helicopter, where it was seen travelling onto SH20 before exiting at Roscommon Road.

Superintendent Naila Hassan said police fired more than one shot at the car near the intersection of Weymouth Road and Great South Road, due to the serious risk posed to the public and police.

"This is yet another incident where a violent offender with a firearm has fled police.

"He needed to be stopped, and I am incredibly proud of the efforts by police officers across Tāmaki Makaurau, who did their very best to keep the community safe and resolve a volatile and fast-moving situation."

The chase was eventually brought to a stop by police near the intersection of Weymouth Road and Roscommon Road at about 4.25pm.

Police said the alleged offender was bitten by a police dog and transported to Middlemore Hospital, where he was under scene guard.

Ms Hassan said the incident put the lives of motorists and officers at risk.

"This was an extremely volatile and dangerous situation where we had a person who was known to have used a firearm, demonstrating violent behaviour and fleeing police.

"He posed an extreme risk to the public, with the vehicle travelling at times on the wrong side of the road at high speeds."

Police said it was only sheer luck that members of the public were not injured or killed.

Ms Hassan said on more than one occasion the driver clipped other vehicles.

"This incident could easily have had a tragic outcome," she said.

A police investigation is now underway and several scene examinations are taking place across Auckland.

Inquiries are ongoing in relation to the discarded firearm.

A 44-year-old male will be facing a number of driving and firearms-related charges.

Details on the charges and any court appearance date are yet to be confirmed.

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has been notified of the incident.