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Pensioner held hostage, violently assaulted before alleged offender shoots at police

Anna Leask,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Apr 2024, 12:32pm
Photo / File
Photo / File

Pensioner held hostage, violently assaulted before alleged offender shoots at police

Anna Leask,
Publish Date
Thu, 25 Apr 2024, 12:32pm

A pensioner was held hostage for two hours and subjected to a violent assault in a “dangerous and unpredictable” incident in the Bay of Plenty where police were shot at. 

They were one of three people held hostage in the terrifying situation that unfolded last night near Edgecumbe. 

At 10pm on Wednesday police were approaching a suspicious vehicle on State Highway 30 when the sole occupant discharged a firearm at them. 

Moments later the driver presented the weapon at the officers, who withdrew immediately. 

As they called for backup, the alleged gunman stole a vehicle from nearby a residential property and drove off. 

But police quickly set up cordons and located the vehicle, preventing the man from leaving the area. 

“In an attempt to avoid police, the [alleged offender] drove into a Hydro Rd property, where two occupants at the address were allegedly verbally threatened and held hostage,” Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Wilson said. 

“The suspect entered another building on the property where a third victim, in their 70s, was allegedly assaulted and held hostage for more than two hours.” 

At midnight police rescued the two victims from the main house while negotiators engaged with suspect - who remained in the other building. 

About 12.30am, he surrendered and was taken into custody without incident. 

The injured victim was taken to hospital with minor injuries. 

A sawn-off .22 rifle was recovered at the scene. 

“This was a dangerous and unpredictable incident,” said Wilson. 

“Three victims have been through a distressing ordeal in their own home, a place where they should feel safe, and two police officers have faced a totally unacceptable threat while going about their duty.’ 

Police quickly set up cordons.

Police quickly set up cordons. 

Police are ensuring the victims and the officers have the support they need. 

“I’m proud of the actions of our police, who brought this volatile incident to a peaceful conclusion,” Wilson said this morning. 

“Events like this are distressing for our communities; there will be an increased presence in the area and officers will be carrying out reassurance patrols. 

“Scene examinations will continue along State Highway 30 and Hydro Rd today and we would like to thank the public for their understanding while this work continues.” 

A 31-year-old Kawerau man will appear in the Whakatāne District Court today. 

He faces charges relating to using a firearm against law enforcement, kidnapping, wounding with intent to injure, aggravated burglary, failing to stop, threatening to kill, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, and wilful damage. 

Wilson said given the case is before the courts, police are unable to comment further. 

This story was originally published on the Herald, here

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