Armed police have reportedly stormed an Auckland house and arrested two men after a police officer was shot and killed on Friday.
Another officer was seriously injured and a passerby also hurt in the incident, which came after police made a routine traffic stop in Massey, in Auckland’s west, on Friday morning.
Police say the second officer was also shot, while the passerby was struck by the offender’s vehicle as it drove away.
Schools and childcare centres in the area were locked down and a massive manhunt ensued. By 2.30pm (NZ time), local media were reporting the arrests at a house in the nearby suburb of West Harbour.
NZ Police Commissioner Andrew Coster had earlier confirmed the male officer’s death with “a heavy heart”.
“This is a shocking situation, it is the worst news police and police families can receive,” he said.
“Our whole organisation is in a state of shock as a result of this event.”
Mr Coster said the “situation escalated quickly, if not immediately”.
“Police approached the vehicle and a man got out, armed with a long-barrelled firearm. The offender fired multiple shots at the two officers,” he said.
“Both officers were struck, one was killed, and the other seriously injured.
“A member of the public also sustained serious injuries and is presently stable at Auckland Hospital.”
Later, Mr Coster said police were still speaking to two people of interest, but could not confirm they were involved in the shooting.
“Our priority is to hold this offender to account, and to ensure that our people and their families receive the support they need,” he said.
“I ask that you keep this officer’s family in your thoughts, as their loved one will not be coming home tonight.”
Witness Elaine Taniela told the New Zealand Herald she was at home on Friday when she heard gunshots.
She said a friend who was on his way to her house at the time described seeing an officer on the ground shaking, as if he was having a seizure.
Mr Coster said the shooter and another offender fled the scene, although “a firearm of interest” had since been found.
It is with a heavy heart that we confirm that one of our colleagues injured in the incident in Massey today has…
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the death, the first of an officer on duty in New Zealand for 11 years, was “devastating news”.
“To lose a police officer is to lose someone working for all of us, but also a family member, someone’s loved one and friend. My condolences go to them and to their police whanau (family),” she said.
Police Minister Stuart Nash said the dead officer was a man who “dedicated his career to keeping us safe”.
“Over 10,000 men and woman have lost a valued colleagues,” he said.
“What an absolute tragedy. What can you say?”