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Live: Armed police search for gun suspect, cordons lifted at Belmont house

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Jul 2022, 11:49am

Live: Armed police search for gun suspect, cordons lifted at Belmont house

Author
NZ Herald ,
Publish Date
Thu, 7 Jul 2022, 11:49am

Armed police swarmed on a house in Belmont after earlier reports of a gunman in the area had plunged nearby schools into lockdown.

Police surrounded a house in Belmont's Bardia St, on Auckland's North Shore, with guns pointed at it and had used a megaphone to order those inside the property to come out, telling them to "hurry up".

A woman has exited the house in extreme distress, saying she had been hiding on the ground for the past two hours.

Bardia St was cordoned off at both ends, with the cordon being lifted at 2.15pm.

Earlier, at least eight police cars, including a dog squad, were at the scene for more than 90 minutes. Armed officers could be seen crouching behind vehicles for cover.

A heavy armed police presence remains in Bardia St, after officers spent more than 90 minutes surrounding a property. Photo / Dean Purcell

A heavy armed police presence remains in Bardia St, after officers spent more than 90 minutes surrounding a property. Photo / Dean Purcell

Police officers were communicating with the house occupants, saying "this is the armed police", "we're surrounding the house", "come to the front door with nothing in your hands".

About 12.30pm armed officers - some with shields - swooped on the property positioned beside a police car in the driveway of the house.

Armed police on Belmont's Bardia Street. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

Armed police on Belmont's Bardia Street. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

In another incident nearby, a witness told the Herald they have also seen a bleeding man being arrested on Devonport's Domain St after a car chase with police. The incidents are not linked, police have confirmed.

Belmont Intermediate, Belmont Primary, Bayswater School and Takapuna Grammar School were all put into lockdown following instructions from police and the Ministry of Education. The lockdown has since been lifted.

"Police are responding to an incident in Belmont following reports of a person with a firearm The incident was reported to Police around 10.47am," police said in a statement.

Armed police on Belmont's Bardia Street. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

Armed police on Belmont's Bardia Street. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

"The Ministry of Education was advised and four nearby schools were placed into lockdown as a precaution. This was for a short period of time and they have now been lifted. A Police cordon is still in place on the intersection of Bardia and Moa St and locals are asked to avoid the area," police said in a statement.

Armed police blocked off Lake Rd, on which Takapuna Grammar is located, and also Bardia St which is a nearby side street.

'This is not a drill'

Takapuna Grammar and Belmont Primary have said the lockdown has been lifted and their students are safe. Bayswater School has said the police incident which led to the lockdown is over, the school is out of lockdown and students are safe.

Belmont Primary went into lockdown around 11am after being contacted by the Ministry of Education regarding an "armed incident" in the area, on Moa St, principal Bruce Cunningham said.

The students had practiced drills for earthquakes, fire and lockdowns so they knew what to do - "they hide under the table or a bench out of sight and lock all the doors internally."

Students and staff were "fantastic", he said.

"They took it seriously, we said this is not a drill. There was no panic."

Some parents were now trying to pick their children up from school but that wasn't necessary, he said.

Armed police in Auckland's Devonport. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

Armed police in Auckland's Devonport. Photo / Sylvie Whinray

Students at Takapuna Grammar were reportedly told to get under their desks, according to a text one student sent to their parents.

Crash after police pursuit

Police have one person in custody following an incident involving a stolen vehicle in Devonport earlier this morning. The incident is not linked to the nearby police operation in Bardia Street involving armed officers.

Witnesses have provided photos to the Herald of crashed cars on Devonport's Domain Street.

Police are on the scene of Domain Street in the suburb of Devonport on Auckland's North Shore. Photo / supplied

Police are on the scene of Domain Street in the suburb of Devonport on Auckland's North Shore. Photo / supplied

A Devonport resident said she arrived on Domain Street around 9.45 am to see a line of police cars.

She then heard the crashing of a car and loud popping of tires. The resident said she thought she saw police ready to lay out a spiked matt to stop cars prior to this.

"A man gets out of the car [that's crashed] and runs to a house and smashes their gate out and then runs into the back garden of the property. The man then runs across the street to another house," she said.

A car crashed on Domain Street in Devonport following a police incident. Photo / Lara Franks

A car crashed on Domain Street in Devonport following a police incident. Photo / Lara Franks

"The man was shirtless and there was a smear of blood on him. I guess because he was in the accident."

The resident said the man was then apprehended on the street by armed officers.

"He looked in his late 20s and was pretty dishevelled."

The resident said she rushed to check on her family in nearby Cambridge Terrace because one of the houses the shirtless man who was apprehended ran into shared a fence with her own.

Another of the crashed cars on Devonport's Domain Street. Photo / supplied

Another of the crashed cars on Devonport's Domain Street. Photo / supplied