Armed police respond to gunfire reports at Auckland's Sofitel hotel

6:01 pm on 15 April 2021

Shots fired in an Auckland hotel this morning was a gang conflict between the Mongols and the Headhunters, Police Minister Poto Williams says.

An armed police officer at the Sofitel in Viaduct Basin, Auckland.

An armed police officer at the Sofitel in Viaduct Basin, Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Simon Rogers

Armed police swarmed the upmarket Sofitel hotel on Auckland's viaduct this morning after shots were fired in the lobby about 9am. Officers later headed to a residential street in Ōrākei.

Williams this evening said it was a gang conflict.

"As far as I am aware, between Mongols and Headhunters. But as I say, it is dynamic and police are pursuing a third person, they've taken two into custody."

She said she was concerned by an apparent rise in gang tensions.

Police said there were no reported injuries in the attack. Armed police were at the scene.

A friend of a Sofitel worker said a gunman entered the lobby about 9am, firing shots. A man who works near the Sofitel said he witnessed a man being arrested by at least eight police officers.

Police cars at the Sofitel in Auckland's Viaduct Harbour.

Photo: Supplied

Investigators could be seen with clipboards and cameras, speaking to some of the hotel staff. Police ordered a white Nissan Navara ute, parked at the entrance to the lobby, to be towed away.

Detective Senior Sergeant Graham Shand said one person was located at the scene, and two others at the Ōrākei property were helping the police with their enquiries.

Meanwhile, several kilometres away in the suburb of Ōrākei, armed officers and the Eagle helicopter were making a beeline for a house in Kitemoana Street, where police said they found a further two people of interest.

Police on Kitemoana Street in Orakei, Auckland.

Police on Kitemoana Street in Ōrākei, Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Kate Gregan

Two men in handcuffs there were seen speaking to officers before they were released, with one returning straight to work on a digger.

A guest who was staying at the hotel for two nights said he was sitting in the hotel restaurant when he heard two loud bangs.

"Well, I thought it was a contractor working outside ... and then all of a sudden we were evacuated. I didn't see anything. We went out the back and the police arrived."

One witness, Thomas, saw a van full of police show up at the scene along with four or five other police cars.

"The first van of police went in with probably at least five or six guns and then they came out later, they still had guns on them ... and then they came out with someone who had been arrested and then they drove off with three of them and the arrested person.

"They still have some cars here as well and the ambulances have came and went.

"We didn't hear anything ... one of the security guards down here said there were shots fired in the foyer but we weren't here when that happened ... they moved everyone from the hotel cafe out into the street and they weren't letting anyone go into the front of the building."

A person who said they were a hotel guest took to social media to praise staff who handled the shooting. The guest said people were shaken up by what happened, but staff had been amazing, calm and reassuring throughout the whole morning.

Police were guarding the entrance to the building and have declined interviews.

In a statement, Sofitel's management Accor said its priority was caring for the health and safety staff and guests - and it was doing everything it can to support them.