30 Oct 2010

Wairoa Mayor vows action on gang-related shootings

6:16 pm on 30 October 2010

The Mayor of Wairoa says he has no intention of leaving the problem of gang-related shootings in the town to just drift.

Police say the shooting of a man on a main-street petrol station forecourt on Friday evening may be gang-related.

Earlier this week, a 17-year-old man was shot in the chest outside the town's Mongrel Mob headquarters. It was the fourth gang-related shooting in Wairoa this year, and both police and Mayor Les Probert say it's only a matter of time before an innocent person gets hurt.

Mr Probert says he can't allow gang-related shootings to happen in public places.

"We will see what action should and can be taken," he says, "and we'll certainly be doing something. It's our duty to protect the community."

The Mayor says he has contacted his councillors and will be contacting the local MP, Chris Tremain.

Mr Tremain says he understands that the latest shooting was retaliatory. The shootings are extremely concerning, he says.

Condition serious but not life-threatening

In Friday night's incident, a 48-year-old man was approached at 6.30pm by a person who fired two shots, which struck him on the side and back.

He was taken by rescue helicopter to Hastings Hospital, where he had surgery. Police say his condition is serious but not life-threatening.

The Armed Offenders Squad from Gisborne was sent to the scene shortly after the incident, and was due to remain there during Saturday.

Mr Probert says it's bad enough when gangs are fighting among themselves, but at least in those circumstance members of the public aren't in danger.