Auckland firearms incident: Shooting linked to 'gang-related' feud

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 15 Apr 2021, 1:57PM
Armed police stand guard outside the Sofitel Hotel on Auckland's Viaduct this morning. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Armed police stand guard outside the Sofitel Hotel on Auckland's Viaduct this morning. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Auckland firearms incident: Shooting linked to 'gang-related' feud

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 15 Apr 2021, 1:57PM

Conflict between two notorious gangs escalated with shots fired inside an Auckland hotel on Thursday morning.

A gun was fired at a luxury Auckland hotel this morning, sparking a city-wide response with armed officers.

The Herald understands members of the Head Hunters opened fire after coming across members of the Mongols in the Sofitel, sparking an armed police callout, in an act of violence which police suspect could be retribution for the Mongols suspected of opening fire on the Head Hunters gang pad early Sunday morning.

Police Minister Poto Williams said it was also her understanding that the incident at the hotel was linked to a feud between the Mongols and the Head Hunters gangs.

A person is assisting police with inquiries after a firearm was discharged at the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour.

The shot was reported shortly after 9am, police have confirmed. No injuries were reported.

"One person located at the scene is currently assisting us with our inquiries and a scene examination is underway," police said.

Shortly after the CBD incident on Thursday, police also attended a property in Ōrākei, with the police Eagle helicopter involved.

"Two people at that address are also assisting police with our inquiries.

"Police are working hard to establish what exactly has taken place."

Earlier: Armed officers swarm on hotel

Armed police descended on Auckland's Viaduct this morning after reports of a shot being heard.

Up to 20 police officers carrying guns were seen storming the Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour lobby while customers and staff in the adjoining cafe were bundled out a separate entrance to safety.

At least one person was seen being taken from the hotel by police with the Eagle helicopter hovering overhead throughout the morning.

Police are still standing guard with an investigation under way. Shortly after 9am a member of the public had reported hearing gunfire outside the hotel.

A series of police cars arrived at the hotel. Photo / Supplied to RNZA series of police cars arrived at the hotel. Photo / Supplied to RNZ

Staff inside the hotel were understood to be taking cover as the incident unfolded, while others sheltered during an emergency lockdown.

A witness told Stuff of dramatic scenes with up to 20 officers carrying guns storming the hotel lobby.

Soon after the person saw a man dressed in red being taken from the hotel under police guard.

A nearby business owner described surreal scenes as police poured into the hotel's lobby while customers in the hotel's cafe were bundled out the side entrance.

The man, who did not want to be identified, said while he didn't hear any shots he saw a person being taken from the hotel who appeared to be under arrest.

"We've had a lot of police presence, they cleared all the people out of the cafe, and then brought them back in and they arrested one guy and put him in the van.

"It's a definitely a very edgy environment down here at the moment."

Around a dozen people, including staff, were inside the cafe at the time.

The man said armed police were now standing guard outside the hotel.

A Sofitel Viaduct employee told Newshub there was a "security threat" earlier and shots were fired, but the situation was now under control.

A police spokesperson said armed police were called to an incident on Viaduct Harbour Ave, Auckland Central, shortly after 9am.

There were no reported injuries but armed police were called in as a precaution.

Police were making inquiries to establish exactly what had happened which were ongoing, said the spokesperson.

St John confirmed they were notified of an incident in central Auckland at 9.08am.

"One ambulance and one rapid response unit responded to the scene but have not been required," a spokeswoman said.

The Sofitel Hotel's general manager, Stephen Gould, confirmed an incident had occurred at the Sofitel.

"We are working with the local authorities. Our priority is caring for the health and safety of our teams and guests and we are doing everything we can to support them."

'Stay inside'

Meanwhile police have also responded to an incident at Ōrākei.

A photographer at the scene said officers had blocked off a section of Kupe St going towards Ōrākei Marae.

"There are about three to five police cars lined up," he said.

Police are responding to another incident this morning at Ōrākei with cordons in place on Kupe St. Photo / Hayden Woodward

Police are responding to another incident this morning at Ōrākei with cordons in place on Kupe St. Photo / Hayden Woodward

A number of officers could also be seen out of their vehicles.

A staff member at Ōrākei Marae told the Herald police had warned them to stay inside.

"We're alright. I don't know what's going on, but they've told us to stay inside," the worker, who asked not to be named, said.

"They've cordoned off Kitemoana St and Kupe St. We're just waiting to see what's going to happen."