Two men are facing firearms charges in relation to a shooting in Waikato which left a young woman with serious injuries.
A 19-year-old woman was hit in the chest and legs by a single shot from a gun shortly before 1pm yesterday at a property in Te Aroha.
Police said the teen underwent surgery in Waikato Hospital overnight, and was now described as being in a stable condition.
She was initially in a critical condition after the incident.
Detective Senior Sergeant Graham Pitkethley of Waikato police said a 16-year-old man, and a 21-year-old man had been arrested in relation to the shooting.
"Both will be appearing in court tomorrow. The 16-year-old youth faces wounding with reckless disregard and unlawful possession of ammunition charges in the Hamilton Youth Court, and the 21-year-old a charge of unlawful possession of pistol in the Hamilton District Court.
"Early indications are that the shooting may have been accidental.''
A scene examination of the property on Russell Ave was being carried out by police and ESR forensic staff, Mr Pitkethley said.
"Yesterday's incident highlights the risks associated with not only the lawful use but also unlawful use of firearms,'' he said.
"The only way to prevent tragedies such as this from occurring is by ensuring firearms are only used by firearms licence holders or under their direct supervision and always treat them as loaded. When not in use, firearms should be secured away and stored separately from ammunition.''
After the incident yesterday, a neighbour who asked not to be named, said he heard a loud bang before seeing a male run through his property.
"He [then] disappeared, and about 15 minutes later the cops turned up with firearms,'' the neighbour said.
A spokeswoman from the Waikato District Health Board confirmed the 19-year-old victim was in a serious but stable condition in the Waikato Hospital high dependency unit.
Further information on firearms safety is available from any local police's firearms office or the NZ Mountain Safety Council on http://www.mountainsafety.org.nz/Safety-Tips/Firearms-Safety.asp
-APNZ and Herald on Sunday