Police fail to find alleged gunman after swoop in Northland

By Susan Strongman, Solbin Kang

Police set up a road block on the Kaiwaka-Mangawhai road north of Auckland as they search for Joshua Kite. photo / Doug Sherring
Police set up a road block on the Kaiwaka-Mangawhai road north of Auckland as they search for Joshua Kite. photo / Doug Sherring

Police have failed to find an alleged gunman, after swooping on a house in Northland.

A large-scale, multi-agency operation across Mangawhai and Kaiwaka has not turned up Joshua Kite, who has been missing since Friday after allegedly opening fire on two unarmed police officers in a Whangarei street and stealing their vehicle, carjacking another and fleeing south to Maungaturoto.

Police entered a home on Brown Rd, north of the two settlements tonight.

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A cordon was set up on the road and several loud bangs were heard by reporters at the scene.

It is not clear if they were gunshots or tear gas.

A police spokeswoman said the search warrant was now completed and Kite wasn't found.

They asked anyone who sees Kite to call 111 immediately.

A resident on Mangawhai Rd Sami Mukesh said while Brown Rd was cleared by police, several gunshots could be heard.

Mukesh said the shots sounded like they were coming from the town centre.

"They were really distinctive shots, definitely gunfire."

Fire crews and ambulance had also been at the scene and a helicopter circled overhead.

A Herald reporter at the scene said dogs could be heard intermittently barking further down Brown Rd.

Earlier today, on Mountain Rd in nearby Kaiwaka, residents reported seeing police patrol cars, dog handlers, members of the armed offenders squad and ambulances.

A Mountain Rd resident, John Treadaway, said there were about 10 police cars stopping vehicles going through.

However, police didn't tell residents why they were there, he said.

"I thought someone would come and say something to us ... it's really rural here."

Police are seeking Joshua Kite in relation to a Northland incident. Photo / Supplied
Police are seeking Joshua Kite in relation to a Northland incident. Photo / Supplied

Police on Friday focused their operation on Kaiwaka and surrounding districts after Kite allegedly opened fire.

He has a history of criminal offences including convictions for three major armed robberies in Auckland in 2007.

Kite has also escaped custody after convincing court staff he was another person, and was wanted last month for allegedly possessing methamphetamine for supply.

Earlier today, police were spotted speeding up State Highway 1, in the Dome Valley, Warkworth and Wellsford areas.

Witnesses said they saw police paddy wagons, patrol cars and a dog van travelling along State Highway 1.

A Herald reporter said at least one police car was stationed at the entrance of the road to the Dome Valley carpark.

"One of the first paddy wagons had two police cars travelling very close alongside as if it was under tight chaperons," she said.

- NZ Herald

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