A witness to a dramatic car chase that eventually closed the Auckland Harbour Bridge on Sunday night has described the "scary" and "crazy" encounter as the alleged gunman attempted to ram police.
The chase was sparked by a report of fighting and shots being fired off Karangahape Rd in central Auckland around 8.45pm. One man allegedly fled with a gun and a pursuit followed, police said.
"Oh my God, it was so scary," said Regina, a sex worker who saw the chase unfold on the corner of K' Rd and Edinburgh St. A car, which drove up Edinburgh St and stopped at the red traffic lights, was quickly blocked by a police car that pulled in front of it, she said. Another police car then turned off K' Rd, from the direction of Queen St, and parked behind the alleged gunman's car.
"The car that was the runaway car ... just starts accelerating into the police car. It was ramming the police car, like bang, bang," Regina said.
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"And then it just turned the wheel and got around [the police car], and then went down there [Howe St]. And then after that about six cars just came from everywhere, there were like six or seven police cars that just went down there after it."
Police pursued the car on to the northbound lanes of the harbour bridge, where it crashed at the top of the bridge, police said. The man tried to escape on foot, but was caught shortly afterwards and arrested. No one was injured in the incident.
"I was standing right here, trying to work and this was happening," Regina said.
Her friend Brooke, another sex worker, said she heard the gunshots moments earlier.
"I was walking out of the Mobil and then, oh my God, I heard these gunshots and then I was checking myself [to see if I was shot]," she said.
After the crash, the bridge was closed for about 20 minutes. When the car was searched, a revolver was found on the front seat, police said. A South Auckland man, Jess Samau, 29, appeared in the Auckland District Court yesterday morning on a string of charges. He was remanded in custody and is due to appear again in February.
- Additional reporting: Brendan Manning