Napier siege: Latest updates

7.54pm:
There are reports that gunman Jan Molenaar has killed himself. There is no confirmation at this stage.

6:13pm:
Police say the armed gunman, Jan Molenaar, remains at the Chaucer Rd property despite their rescue operation to remove the body of slain policeman, Len Snee.
Police said they would not give details of how police got entry to the property, what tactics were used or how many staff were involved.

- Eastern District Commander Superintendent Sam Hoyle has confirmed that the body Constable Len Snee has been recovered from where it lay outside the siege property in Chaucer Rd, Napier.
He said it was a relief to be able to bring a colleague's body away from the scene.
"We are pleased for the family that we are able to bring him out - it has been a traumatic and immensely difficult time for them."

6.00pm:
Napier police say they have retrieved the body of slain policeman Len Snee from the property under siege.

5.51pm:
Newstalk ZB is now reporting that the police bomb squad is among the police dispatched to the house on Chaucer Road, where a gunman is holed up in an armed stand-off with police.

The police bomb squad has been seen heading toward the Napier gunman's house in Chaucer Rd.


5.45pm:
One News is reporting that Jan Molenaar, the man holed up in a Napier house, has been shot and injured - quoting a source "close to Molenaar" as saying he has been shot.

5.40pm:
A resident "not more than 200 metres" from the house under siege reports hearing yelling, and seeing armed police advancing on the property.

5.02pm:
Gunfire once more. "At least fifteen" shots have shattered the late afternoon air in the Napier siege zone, according to reports from those positioned just outside the cordon.

4.35pm:
Two LAVs (the army's light armoured vehicles), followed by a police car with officers and a police dog inside, have entered inside the cordoned area, says the nzherald.co.nz reporter on the scene. It is still uncertain what the strategy will be.

4.30pm:
People who were forced to evacuate and leave pets behind in the cordoned-off area have been contacting media with their stories. Many fear for the well-being of their cats and dogs for such a long period of time without the provision of food and water.

2.56pm:
Latest from Superintendent Sam Hoyle:
- Police have obtained occasional glimpses of Molenaar during the siege.
- Asked why gas had not been used to try to flush the gunman from the house, Mr Hoyle replied: "It would be wrong to assume it hasn't been used."
- Police have spoken briefly to one of the shot policemen, Grant Diver, at hospital but have not been able to speak to the injured civilian, who was apparently known to the gunman.
- While houses in the gunman's line of fire have been evacuated, other hill residents remain virtual prisoners inside their homes and have been told to stay away from windows.

2.46pm:
A picture of slain police officer Len Snee has been put up outside the Napier Police Station. It has been hung on the flagpole and is surrounded by flowers and cards.

2.27pm:
A bomb squad vehicle is now heading to the scene of the siege.

2.26pm:
The police dog believed to have been shot dead has been named as Fi.

1.53pm:
The ambulance, paramedic unit and one police car have returned to the temporary police HQ. Four people from inside the ambulance have been handed over to St John personnel. The LAV has also returned.

1.47pm:
A further police car, an ambulance and a paramedic unit have now joined the LAV and two other police cars in going towards the scene of the siege.

1.38pm:
One of the army's light armoured vehicles (LAVs) has left the temporary police HQ in Napier escorted by two unmarked police cars and has gone towards the location of the siege, a reporter at the scene said.

1.04pm:
Prime Minister John Key today expressed his sincere condolences to the family of Senior Constable Len Snee.

"Senior Constable Snee was a long-serving police officer who gave a lot to his local community - he will be greatly missed," Mr Key said.

"It is at times like this that our country is reminded of the risks our police officers take every day to protect the public.

"Their job is a dangerous one and the events in Napier yesterday, which continue to unfold today, are a stark reminder of that."

Mr Key is receiving updates on the conditions of Constables Bruce Miller and Grant Diver, who remain in hospital after being shot during the armed incident.

"My thoughts are with them and their families at what is clearly a very difficult time," he said.

An unnamed member of the public is also in hospital in relation to the incident and Mr Key wished this person a speedy recovery.

"This is an extremely serious incident and I offer my full support to the officers who continue to put their lives on the line in an effort to bring it to a close," Mr Key said

12.56pm:
A police dog is believed to have died in yesterday's shoot out, it was revealed this afternoon. The dog is thought to be in a police van outside the house.

12.43pm
Police are preparing for the Napier siege to last for days, the officer in charge of the operation said this afternoon.

Superintendent Sam Hoyle told a media conference the "incredibly tense" situation could end in minutes or could go on for days.

He said communications with the gunman Jan Molenaar were ongoing, with negotiators both calling him and him calling officers.

12.23pm:
Nicole, a student at Napier Intermediate school, has written to nzherald.co.nz to describe the scene in the school during the lockdown. She said:

"At about 10.30am my principal came in and said she urgently needed to talk to my teacher. My teacher came back in and didn't say anything. About 20 minutes later my principal came back and said 'Lock your doors now.'

"My teacher said: 'There has been a shooting incident near the botanical gardens, and has gone to Chaucer road, stay calm, we're just locking our doors for safety precautions from the police.' We all stayed calm and were told to finish our work.

"We kept the radio on to hear updates of what was happening and our teacher kept us updated by the internet. We ate our morning tea and lunch inside. The only time some of us were aloud outside, was when we urgently needed to go toilet, and if so we had to go extremely quickly.

"A lot of things were running through our heads but our teacher did very well on keeping us calm. And some of us were jumping to crazy conclusions but our teacher stopped those.

"Those kids in the library and Maths extension etc were unlucky because they didn't have their bags with them so they couldn't have lunch until about 12.30pm because that was when they had to rush back to their normal classrooms. We continued working from there.

"Then at about 2.30pm we all quickly walked throughout classrooms picking some people that weren't already in the hall. We did that so no one was alone and everyone was together in one place.

"In those rooms it was really squished, and boring. But it didn't take long for someone to come and pick me up. I don't know how long it took for every other student to be picked up, not too long I hope."

11.37am:
Some radio talkback listeners and social networking site users have asked why the armed forces have not been sent in to end the stand-off between police and the gunman.

When asked what the rules of engagement for the armed forces were in a domestic situation, Navy Commander Shaun Fogarty said the armed forces have rules but said it was normally tied up with legal and parliamentary processes.

According to the Defence Act, 1990, the Defence Force can be used to "provide public service or assist civil power" and help in an emergency with authority from the Prime Minister or other authorised ministers where "one or more persons are threatening to kill or seriously injure" and when the emergency cannot be dealt with by the police.

"Every part of the Armed Forces that is assisting the Police... shall act at the request of the constable who is in charge of the operations in respect of the emergency," the Act said.

Commander Fogarty said the Defence Force would not comment on what the police had asked for or what they could do.

"We're supporting the police," he said.

The army have light armoured vehicles or LAVs in place at Napier Hill.

10.49am:
Armed police reinforcements have poured into Napier this morning as the lone gunman remains holed up in his house.

One group of police carrying firearms flew in on a passenger plane from Wellington.

Air New Zealand has been ferrying various specialised police into Hawkes Bay from around the country.

The Gisborne Armed Offenders Squad has been flown in, along with the elite police special tactics squad.

10.01am:
The siege has now lasted for 24 hours, with a police source telling NewstalkZB it could go on until Sunday.

10.00am:
Some Napier Hill residents have been asked to stay in their homes for safety reasons. Police advise that if they need to get out of their property for any reason, they should contact the Napier Police Station on 06 831 0700.

Superintendent Sam Hoyle urged people to remain calm. "This is a frightening and unsettling situation for everyone and we understand how people are feeling. We can assure the public that we are doing everything to keep the community safe.

"The support from the Napier and Hawke's Bay community and nationwide has been phenomenal and we are very grateful for everyone's help."

9.35am:
Police said today that the member of the public who was shot in the incident was a "hero" and that he tried to stop the offender shooting at police.

Superintendent Sam Hoyle said the man was at the address at the time of the search and he attempted to disarm the offender.

"He has behaved quite heroically in trying to stop the offender shooting the police officers,' Mr Hoyle told NewstalkZB.

9.25am:
About 30 armed offenders squad (AOS) members and other specialist police staff from across the North Island continue to surround the house.

Police spokeswoman Kaye Calder said police had contacted the gunman by phone and were attempting to negotiate with him.

8.58am:
A NewstalkZB listener claiming to know gunman Jan Molenaar said the 51-year-old has homemade machine guns and explosives. He was described as highly trained and violent. A former neighbour described him as being stubborn and having a short temper.

8.52am:
Napier MP Chris Tremain was at the Civil Defence Welfare Centre for most of the night talking to the families who could not go back to their homes due to the police cordons. A total of 126 people have registered at the centre.

"I just wanted to come in and talk to people and see what was happening here at Napier intermediate," he told NewstalkZB. "People are a bit frightened, as can be expected."

Mr Tremain said police deserve nothing but praise for their handling of the situation.

8.13am:
The brother of the man believed to be the lone gunman says he would tell his brother to give himself up and would be willing to talk to his brother but has not been contacted by police.

Peter Molenaar told Radio New Zealand that his brother had been for a walk and was "pumped up" when he returned home to find police there at 9.30am.

"He over-reacted to the situation. He flipped," Mr Molenaar said.

He said that he did not know that his brother had a lot of ammunition in the house.

"No we didn't know that but obviously his partner knew that," Mr Molenaar said.

He said the woman phoned him last night and told him it was "all under control".

"I'm very sorry what has happened here," he told Radio New Zealand.

8.02am
A bomb squad van has just turned up at the scene of the siege, a Herald reporter says.

8.00am
A resident who is trapped in her house inside the police cordon has not had any face-to-face contact with police and says she only has another day's worth of food.

Nikki Luke told Radio New Zealand that her father-in-law also needed medication.

She said at about 11pm she had been phoned by police and told to "take cover" and stay away from the windows.

Ms Luke said the street lights were turned off and shots were fired.

She said four or five other residents are still in their houses in her street.

"We know that we're safe. We know that police are in the area," Ms Luke said.

7.58am:
The two wounded police officers, Constable Grant Diver and Constable Bruce Miller, and a local resident are now listed as being in a critical condition in Hawke's Bay regional hospital's intensive care unit.

7.50am:
Three schools are closed today in Napier as a precautionary measure while the siege continues. The affected schools are Napier Central School, Napier Intermediate and Nelson Park School.

Road blocks also remain at several major intersections and commuters are asked to take alternative routes.

A police spokesman said: "If you are heading from Taradale towards Napier, Hyderabad Road is closed. Suggested alternative route is via Battery Road and the port."

Other closures are:
Georges Drive between Kennedy Road and Hyderabad Road
Thackeray Street between Hyderabad Road and Jull Street
Carlyle Street between Hyderabad and Faraday Street

A Welfare Centre at Napier Intermediate School, staffed by Civil Defence and other agencies, is open again this morning for people requiring assistance. More than 60 people were accommodated at motels overnight.

7.27am:
NewstalkZB reported members of the Special Tactics Group, the police counter-terrorist and tactical wing, had joined AOS officers in the cordon around the house.

7.20am:
Police Minister Judith Collins is on her way to Napier today where she will meet the families of the shot police officers.

7.00am:
Police continued to evacuate residents from the area last night, Napier mayor Barbara Arnott told Radio NZ. Ms Arnott, who lives in the street where the gunman is holed-up, said she heard more shots at about 3am.

- NZHERALD STAFF, NZPA AND NEWSTALK ZB

- NZ Herald

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