Shots fired lead police hunt south

By NZME, Mikaela Collins

Add a comment
SHOOTING SCENE: Police examine a Subaru that a man crashed, before firing at pursuing police and stealing their patrol car on Kamo Rd yesterday. PHOTO/JOHNSTON
SHOOTING SCENE: Police examine a Subaru that a man crashed, before firing at pursuing police and stealing their patrol car on Kamo Rd yesterday. PHOTO/JOHNSTON

A second manhunt in Northland in two days has followed the fugitive to Auckland after shots were fired and two towns went into "lockdown" mode.

At edition time the wanted man was still on the run, but was believed to be in Auckland after a widescale police operation involving officers from four districts tracked him in Northland.

It was the second manhunt in 48 hours after armed police had searched for Mark Andrew Fletcher who fled police into rural bush and farmland in Whakapara on Thursday.

Yesterday, Armed Offenders Squad police, dog handlers and officers from four police districts pursued an unidentified man after he shot at two unarmed officers after a pursuit at Whangarei about 12.43am.

The man's vehicle crashed on Kamo Rd, outside Newberry's Funeral Home. The driver stole an unmarked police vehicle and fled. A short time later the man accosted two occupants of a vehicle near Raumanga Valley Rd, ordered them to get out and drove their vehicle south on State Highway 1 to Maungaturoto.

The township went into lockdown after the vehicle was found abandoned in Bickerstaffe Rd, but the man was then spotted in Kaiwaka.

Late yesterday an extensive search was still under way to locate the man and police said they were now making inquiries in the greater Auckland area after completing inquiries in Northland.

Kaiwaka resident Janine Boult said at least one daycare centre had been affected as well as the library and several other businesses run by volunteers.

"I run our local drop-in centre and we've decided we will stay closed until we know more, just to encourage people not to come out," she said.

Police Commissioner Mike Bush said police were doing everything to locate the man.

Staff from Northland, Waitemata, Auckland City and Counties Manukau districts were involved in the operation.

"As always in events of this nature, our objective is to ensure the safety of the public and our staff and resolve this situation without anyone getting hurt," he said.

Otamatea High School principal Rachel Clothier-Simmonds said in the interests of safety, and in line with the advice to avoid the Maungaturoto area, the school was closed yesterday after the town was placed in lockdown.

"If this had taken place during school hours we would have activated our lockdown procedures. In this case the safest option seemed to be to keep students at home," she said

At least 10 police vehicles had set up at a point behind Kaiwaka's Three Furlongs Bar and Grill while other vehicles searched the area. Mangawhai locals said armed police were also at the seaside settlement and checkpoints had been set up at roads in and out of the cove with cars being searched.

Despite the police presence in the area some locals continued as normal. Businesses like the Kaiwaka Four Square and the Italian Bakery remained open.

The wanted man's identity was not known. He was described as possibly in his late 30s, up to 1.8m tall with brown curly hair. He was wearing a blue T-shirt with white writing and a brown zip-up hoodie.

- Northern Advocate

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

Have your say

1200 characters left

By and large our readers' comments are respectful and courteous. We're sure you'll fit in well.
View commenting guidelines.

© Copyright 2017, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 22 Feb 2017 01:48:31 Processing Time: 643ms