Onepu Siege: Police Aiming For Peaceful Conclusion

Publish Date
Thursday, 10 March 2016, 7:26AM

A stand-off with an armed gunman who allegedly shot four police officers at a Bay of Plenty farmhouse is continuing this morning, with no end to the seige in sight.

Police say the situation at Onepu Springs Road near Kawerau remains unchanged as it enters its second day.

As police and defence reinforcements descended on the region, police said the major operation was ongoing but no further shots had been fired overnight.

Today police say their priority remains to bring the siege to a peaceful conclusion, ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

Cordons remain in place and a large number of police staff, including specialist units, have worked throughout the night.

Police say they are working with the shooter's family, many of whom are holding vigil at the cordon, to keep them updated about the operation.

 

Negotiations have continued through the night with a loudhailer heard being used to encourage the gunman to give himself up.

Heavily armed Special Tactics Group officers, defence force staff and armed offenders squad are gathered in strength as reinforcements, including LAVs and a defence NH90 helicopter, travelled to the area last night.

Along with the cordons at either end of Onepu Spring Rd, police have imposed a no fly zone over the immediate area.

Family of the gunman have kept vigil at the roads-end overnight appealing to police to be included in negotiating a peaceful end to the stand-off.

A police negotiating team at the scene includes one of the gunman's friends, who has been in contact with him through the night and this morning.

They say the gunman has texted a message to them that he wants to give himself up.

His mother fears her son will be "coming out in a box" and earlier accused police of delaying tactics after officers said a drone had been spotted in the area. She has continued to ask for family members to be let on to the property to bring the gunman out without shots being fired.

Residents of the rural road blocked out of their homes by the shooting have been forced to spend the night elsewhere.

Two of the officers injured in yesterday's shooting have been treated for their injuries and have returned home.

The most seriously wounded police officer is in Waikato Hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Another officer that was shot in the hand was also undergoing treatment at the same hospital.

How things unfolded

10.45am: Police hear three shots in the Otakiri area in the Bay of Plenty during an operation using a plane.

11.30am: Police cordon off a rural property on Onepu Springs Rd, Kawerau after another shot is fired at the plane, which is believed to have been searching for cannabis crops.

1pm:
 The Armed Offenders Squad arrive in Kawerau after being called out from Rotorua.

3.45pm:
 Police confirm three officers have been shot. A large police operation is underway at the property, where the gunman is believed to be holed up.

4.15pm:
 Two Rotorua officers arrive at Whakatane Hospital. A third officer is airlifted to Rotorua Hospital.

5.40pm:
 Police confirm a fourth officer has been shot.

6pm:
 Police hold a media briefing at National Headquarters in Wellington confirming they are only looking for one shooter.

7pm:
 Police announce a defence helicopter has been deployed to the scene along with three light armoured vehicles.

7.25pm:
 Police say a 3 mile radius no-fly zone has been established around the area.

NZ Herald