Police say it's "very, very lucky" an innocent family escaped death when more than 20 shots were fired at their home in what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity amid rising gang tensions.
A young Auckland family with a number of children fell victim to the alleged drive-by shooting on Yates Rd, in Māngere East last night, when in excess of 20 shots were fired through the walls of the home.
Police said they were an "unsuspecting, innocent family" mistakenly identified as the target.
Miraculously, no one was seriously injured or died. However, it left neighbours rattled who this morning said patched gang members on motorcycles are constantly seen in the area and they fear for the safety of their children.
"We're very, very lucky we're not dealing with a homicide today," Inspector Matt Srhoj told the Herald.
"It's very, very distressing for the family involved, [an] exceptionally frightening thing to have happened to anybody."
He said a number of children were at the property and "any one of them could have been hit, and worst-case scenario, someone could have been killed".
Srhoj said the terrifying ordeal is a result of rising gang-related firearm incidents in the suburb in recent months.
Just six days ago in the same street, a man believed to be a King Cobra gang member, was run off his motorbike and gunfire was heard.
"We believe it's a mistake in the identity of the address," Srhoj said when asked how an innocent family could get caught up in gang tensions.
"We're not dealing with the sharpest pencils, the people involved in this."
Srhoj said although they are in the early stages of today's investigation, it would "be naive" not to think it had some connection to recent firearms incidents in the area, and they are "treating them as a package".
"This is likely to be local people that are responsible for this as well.
"It's absolutely unacceptable that someone from the community would do something like this to their community ... potentially put people in their own community at risk."
Community members are being urged to share information with police, who said it's likely people in the community will know who is responsible.
"The answers will sit within the community and that's why we're going door to door today," said Srhoj.
There will be a heightened police presence in the area over the coming days and police said it's important the community tell police what they know.
People can contact police by phoning 105, quoting file number 211104/5280. Police said any information will be treated in confidence. People can also ring Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
A scene examination will be continuing today and police are continuing to speak to the family involved and neighbours.
The house has been cordoned off and a number of forensics staff were seen photographing gunshot marks in the walls of the home. A property adjacent has also been cordoned off.
An elderly woman who lives nearby said she heard a loud "boom" sound and yelling and banging.
She was scared and thought someone was breaking into her home and said she went to check all her doors were locked before going back to sleep.
She has lived in the area for 49 years and said the shooting incident is "out of the ordinary".
Young children lived at the property that was targeted, she said, and she would see them playing on the trampoline outside. She said she would wave hello to the parents as they worked in the garden.
She said they were friendly and she had "no need to worry".
Other neighbours heard the gunshots but believed they were fireworks. They said many were heard going off in the area in the lead-up to Guy Fawkes Day.
They told the Herald they constantly hear motorcycles travel up and down the road, and sometimes see patched members.
One neighbour said early last week there was a procession of more than 20 motorcycles and cars that came down the road, and she took her children inside.
With two shooting incidents in one week she fears for the safety of her daughters and family and she said the community would be upset by the news.
Another man said he and his family wanted to move because of the firearms incidents.
Māngere has been the scene of gang conflict for months.
Several people allegedly linked to the Rebels Motorcycle Club appeared in court yesterday and were granted bail.
They were charged with offences including arson and methamphetamine supply, after police launched Operation Raleigh in July to investigate alleged firebombings.
Some gang conflict in South Auckland this year has involved the relatively new Rebels arrivals and the more established King Cobras.
- Additional reporting by John Weekes