Police are worried children and their families could be killed in gang-crossfire after shots were fired at two homes in Wairoa without police being called.
A person received serious leg injuries in a drive-by shooting targeting a house in Sydney St at about 4pm on May 5, while a child's bedroom was showered with broken glass when shots were fired, apparently using a shotgun, at a Clyde St home at about 10.20pm on May 11.
"It was simply good luck that the child was not present in the room at the time," said Police Tairawhiti Area investigations manager Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Moorhouse.
While no arrests had been made, gang factors are thought to be involved, leading to the fears that family members, including mothers and their children, could become the "collateral damage" when the shots are fired.
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Tairawhiti Police have recently concluded Operation Aardwolf, investigating a homicide in which an innocent woman lost her life after being shot in a public place.
Moorhouse said police only became aware of the Sydney St incident after a man with the injuries arrived at Wairoa Hospital, and there were times when the hearing of shots was not reported at all.
Tairawhiti Police continue to focus Operation Kotare on keeping the community safe in Wairoa, but were frustrated to be now investigating two gang-related shootings within days of each other.
"The actions of these perpetrators demonstrate a clear intent to cause harm and a total disregard for life, community safety and the law," Moorhouse said. "Disturbingly, police have found that in the latest two shootings, several people had heard the gunshots and not reported them.
"We are very concerned that a measure of apathy or acceptance may be creeping into the mindsets of our communities and would like to take this opportunity to remind the public that these types of incidents are not OK, and should not be accepted by anyone."
Anyone with any information relating to shots being fired in the town or the two incidents can call police on 111 or through Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.