Innocent family fired at 20 times flee neighbourhood

Miriam Burrell, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Nov 2021, 11:10am
(Photo / Dean Purcell)
(Photo / Dean Purcell)

Innocent family fired at 20 times flee neighbourhood

Miriam Burrell, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 24 Nov 2021, 11:10am

A family with young children who miraculously dodged more than 20 bullets fired at their house have fled Māngere East out of fear for their safety. 

The now empty property they lived in still bears bullet holes in its walls and windows, reminding neighbours of the November 3 night-time shooting. 

One young girl narrowly missed a bullet as she watched television. 

Police said the innocent family were mistakenly targeted in a gang-related drive-by shooting on Yates Rd, and it was a miracle no one was injured, or died. 

Two men were charged and have appeared in Manukau District Court. 

In the days after the shooting, while their house was crawling with forensics and detectives examining the scene, the family stayed with relatives, the Herald understands. 

But last week they moved out of the property permanently because they felt unsafe. 

A Kāinga Ora contractor seen at the property told the Herald they were repairing the building before the next tenants moved in. 

The family have moved into a new home in South Auckland, a relative told the Herald. 

"This has been a very distressing incident for our customers and we have been supporting them appropriately, as well as carrying out welfare checks with surrounding neighbours," said Angela Pearce, Kāinga Ora regional director. 

"We always look to support our customers in situations like this, and where there is a clear safety concern we can prioritise a move to another Kāinga Ora property with the customers' agreement." 

The relative, who the Herald has agreed not to name, also lives on Yates Rd. 

He said gang tensions have quietened down in the weeks after the shooting, but it is a "common occurrence" for a driver to rev the engine of their car outside the home that was targeted. 

"You know it's the gang guys when they start revving the car when they go by the house. I think they're sending a message." 

He said he also sees patched gang members drive by on motorbikes and he still feels unsafe. 

"You're more wary of cars going past on the street, especially at nighttime. 

"It doesn't help that they still haven't fixed the [streetlight]. At nighttime it's really dark." 

He said he has complained to police about a house on the street he believes is gang-associated. 

"People just want these guys out of the street. They thought they would be gone by now. 

"They haven't been as prominent with people gathering at their house anymore. By nighttime it's pretty much an empty house, gates locked, no more cars. 

"It can only last for so long, they will end up going back to their old ways." 

"Police in the Counties Manukau West district recently received complaints relating to the occupants of a property on Yates Rd in Mangere," a spokesperson told the Herald. 

"Kāinga Ora was contacted regarding these complaints as part of the investigation and follow-up related police inquiries." 

Māngere shootings 

A family with around five or six children, aged between 2 and 21, were victims of the alleged drive-by shooting. 

Police said it was a result of rising gang tensions in the area. 

Eight search warrants were carried out in Māngere and Manurewa a few days later. 

A 41-year-old man is facing charges relating to unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. 

A 32-year-old was charged with possession of a restricted weapon and drug-related charges. 

A week before the shooting, a man believed to be a King Cobra gang member was run off his motorbike and sounds of gunfire were heard. 

Police arrested a man and seized two firearms afterwards. 

A few weeks earlier, Misiona Talafu Petelo, aged 19, from Papatoetoe, died after a shooting nearby on Massey Rd in Māngere on October 16. 

Two men handed themselves into police after his death and have appeared in court.