Two reported dead in Rarotonga shooting, escaped prisoner loose, possibly with a young child

Police said they were looking for escaped Chris Rimamotu of Titikaveka. Photo / Supplied
Police said they were looking for escaped Chris Rimamotu of Titikaveka. Photo / Supplied

Police in the Cook Islands are hunting an escaped prisoner after two people were shot.

Both are believed to be dead and there are reports tonight a young child may be with the person police believe is responsible for the shootings, alleged to be an armed prison escapee.

Cook Islands News reported this evening those shot were a man and a woman, but it was not known if the child believed to be with the alleged gunman is related to him.

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Police said earlier they were looking for escaped prisoner Chris Rimamotu, of Titikaveka.

"This person is armed and considered very dangerous. We urge members of the public not to approach this person if located,"

Cook Island News reported up to 30 police officers were searching the island for Rimamotu.

Rimamotu was believed to have been in jail on abduction charges, they reported.

"The two victims were said to have been known to Rimamotu. Sources have told the CI News the weapon was likely to be a .22 calibre firearm."

Police were searching the area around Titikaveka tonight and, just before 9pm, there were more shots reported in Nikao, they reported.

"Earlier, a witness got to within 30 metres of the original crime scene and saw a covered body on the ground."

Another media source on the island told NZME the alleged gunman was last seen in Nikao.

Cook Islands police said in a media statement two people had been shot, but would not give their conditions.

Senior Sergeant Maeva Kirikava told the Herald he couldn't comment on the pair's conditions.

Asked if they were alive, he said: "I can't confirm that."

He believed those shot were from the Cook Islands.

More information would be released later tonight or tomorrow morning. There was no answer at Rarotonga Hospital.

Comments made on social media indicate those shot are the ex-partner of the escaped prisoner and her current partner.

Another person commented on Facebook that the shootings took place in Vaimaanga and the Wigmore's Superstore was closed down.

Cook Islands police said in a media statement that there had been a shooting incident in Titikaveka.
Cook Islands police said in a media statement that there had been a shooting incident in Titikaveka.

- NZ Herald

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