About 10 police officers came under fire during a major incident that involved a chase across Auckland’s motorways.
A witness said a car involved in the pursuit, which ended with arrests in Rodney around lunchtime on Friday, had bullet holes and smashed windows.
A major highway north of Auckland was closed for several hours following the incident.
ALEX BARLEANU/SKYNET LTD
A bystander saw the driver speeding down Dairy Flat Highway towards Orewa, followed by police cars with sirens blaring.
Waitematā District Commander Superintendent Tusha Penny said it was extremely lucky no-one was killed in the incident, during which she said at least 10 officers were fired upon.
Two men had been arrested, Penny said.
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“The accident began at 11.42am after police officers were conducting enquiries at an address at Blockhouse Bay regarding a wanted person who had an active warrant to arrest for escaping custody,” Penny said.
As police were leaving, they spotted the person of interest in a silver Audi saloon and a man inside allegedly fired at least one shot at police before the driver fled on State Highway 20, she said.
Police followed at a distance while the Eagle helicopter monitored overhead.
The driver exited State Highway 20 and entered State Highway 1 at Greenlane where he was travelling in a dangerous manner, she said.
The driver left the southern motorway and entered the northern motorway, exiting in Wainui, Penny said.
One offender was arrested in Kaukapakapa at around 12.29pm.
“A second occupant continued to flee from police before eventually surrendering after the vehicle came to a stop just north of Te Pahi Creek Bridge on SH16 at 1.07pm.”
“On at least five occasions during the pursuit, shots were fired at police by occupants of the fleeing vehicle.
“Additionally, a member of the public reported that the driver shot at their direction while the vehicle was fleeing police on SH20,” Penny said.
One of the alleged offenders was being treated for a minor injury sustained during interaction with police.
“I am horrified that at least ten members of staff, as well as members of the public, were put in a life-threatening situation by the cowardly actions of these individuals.”
“These were cowardly acts. They were acts against the community,” she said.
Two men, aged 22 and 23, would be facing a number of charges and would appear at Waitakere District Court on Saturday.
A police investigation was underway to establish the full circumstance of what occurred and the IPCA would also be conducting an independent investigation.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact Waitemata Police on 09 839 0600 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111,” she said.
A Kaukapakapa resident said he understood police stopped the offenders by rolling out a spike strip south of Kaukapakapa village.
On Friday afternoon, police appeared to investigate an unmarked police vehicle with a bullet hole in the windscreen beside the dashboard lights.
At the height of the incident, several police cars were seen racing toward Silverdale on the Northern Motorway at about 1pm on Friday.
Six other police vehicles were seen driving away from the scene after 1:15pm.
A woman said she saw about 20 police cars with armed officers in Kaukapakapa around 12.35pm.
“Bullets holes [were] on the car and the windows smashed out.”
SH1 SOUTHERN MWY, NORTHBOUND – INCIDENT – 1.05PM
Following a police incident the #SH1 northbound Greenlane off-ramp is CLOSED. Please avoid the area if possible as heavy congestion starts to build. Consider using alternative route. ^MF pic.twitter.com/1U3VyvEMQA
— NZTA Akld & Nthlnd (@NZTAAkl) October 19, 2018
The vehicles went speeding past her and it looked like the car being chased had flat tyres from road spikes, she said.
She said it was “bloody scary”.
“I’m surprised he didn’t kill anyone.”
There was a lot more than 11. Just came out to manukau, on the drive out over 30 marked cars passed me (the other way) as did several armed offenders squad vehicles and ambulances… Police seem to be sitting near every motorway off ramp too. What’s going on?!
— Will Maxwell-Steele (@wijomas) October 18, 2018