Policeman's body recovered, siege status 'unchanged'

Police have retrieved the body of slain police officer Senior Constable Len Snee but are distancing themselves from reports that gunman Jan Molenaar has killed himself.

Armed police entered the Molenaar's property at Chaucer Rd on Napier hill just after 5pm.

TV3 was reporting that Molenaar may have died from a self-inflicted wound. However, police told the Herald this evening that the "situation is unchanged" and TV3 said it had been told the earlier reports were incorrect.

NZPA said several cars have moved through the police cordon carrying people not wearing protective clothing.

Asked by TVNZ if Molenaar was dead, Eastern District Commander Superintendent said: "Jan is still at the address, we can't confirm his status right now."

Mr Snee's body was recovered from the driveway of the property, where he had lain for about 32 hours.

Mr Hoyle said it was a relief to be able to bring Mr Snee'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," Mr Hoyle said.

No one was injured during the retrieval of the body.

Molenaar yesterday allegedly shot and killed Mr Snee and badly wounded Senior Constables Bruce Miller and Grant Diver, as well as a neighbour who tried to help police.

The officers had been on a routine drugs operation at the house.

Armed police moved in on Molenaar's house shortly after 5pm.

A resident of a house 200m from the property told Radio New Zealand that two armoured vehicles were at the gunman's house and armed men were moving between the vehicles towards the house.

He said shots had been exchanged between the armed police and the gunman.

A flurry of 23 shots had rung out on Napier Hill.

Molenaar has been inside the Chaucer Rd house since yesterday morning, when the three police officers and a civilian were shot.

Tonight's shots came within 40 minutes of two light armoured vehicles and two police cars full of armed police heading up Chaucer Rd.

Police Minister Judith Collins said earlier tonight police were under no political pressure to wrap up the siege in Napier.

Ms Collins visited police tactical headquarters today and made it plain to officers she did not want anyone injured just for some sort of time frame.

There was no political pressure on them, she said.

"We don't want the police thinking at any stage that they can't do anything except the best job that they can," Ms Collins told Radio New Zealand.

She also visited Len Snee's family today.

His wife, Vicki, sons Sam and Joseph and the extended family were "utterly devastated", Ms Collins said.

"They're trying to be so brave, they're trying to greet all these people coming to their home, they're doing their very, very best."

The sons who were young men, seemed to be holding it together and were trying to be strong for their Mum and their family, she said.

"It's a good family, it's an extended family. They're very strong but gee it's tough time for them."

Ms Collins also went to the hospital today and met the families of Senior Constable Diver, 50 and Senior Constable Miller, 40, who were critically injured, one in an induced coma.

It was a tough time for everyone, she said.

"I've seen adult very, very experienced police officers with tears in their eyes."

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An account has been set up for the families of the police officers involved in the Napier shooting. If you wish to give donations to the families of the victims, the details of the bank account to use are as follows:

Bank: Westpac
Account No: 03-0698-0544551-000
Account Name: Police Casualty Donation Account

- NZPA

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