The massive Christchurch manhunt for an alleged fatal hit-and-run driver and "dangerous" gang member continues today while police launch a homicide investigation.
Pedestrian Dean Michael Amies, 46, was struck in New Brighton and killed on Wednesday afternoon by a stolen van allegedly being driven by Liam Strickland, 21, who now has multiple warrants out for his arrest.
This afternoon, Acting District Commander Mike Johnson said investigation activities at the scene had been completed and the scene has been released after a blessing.
"Canterbury Police have today acted on a number of pieces of information
received from the public. Despite this, Liam Strickland has not yet been located," he said.
"These inquiries continue and will continue until he is located. I want to thank those of you who have come forward with sightings and encourage you to continue to contact us with information."
Yesterday armed police executed search warrants at nine city properties searching for Strickland, who allegedly is a patched Black Power gang member.
Six people were taken into custody during the raids that found methamphetamine, cannabis and three firearms.
All police officers in the region have also been authorised to be armed while Strickland is on the run, as he is considered dangerous and should not be approached.
A heavy police presence has been seen in the suburbs of Aranui, Woolston and Bishopdale over the past two days.
Johnson said both the homicide investigation and the investigation into Strickland's
whereabouts remain a high priority.
Police are also working to support Amies' family who are "understandably distraught at the loss of their loved one", Johnson said.
"On behalf of New Zealand Police I would like to extend my condolences to his
family and friends."
One friend, who did not want to be named, earlier said: "Dean was a kind caring soul. Honestly Deano was an awesome character ... I hope they catch the scum that has caused grief on Dean's family.
"Big kia kaha to his son and family and friends."
The woman's sentiments have been shared by others on social media.
Another friend wrote, "such sad news, Deano Amies you didn't deserve that, no one does, wow shocked, RIP", and "RIP Deano Amies I'll treasure our memories can't believe this has happened, rest easy cuz x".
Canterbury homeless advocates Street Wise also posted of Amies' death, confirming he was one of their street community.
"One of our Street Whānau tragically lost their lives in a hit-and-run in New Brighton," they wrote.
"This is obviously a very sad time for the community, but being that we lost Street Whānau, it hits us all that much harder.
"We want you all to know that we're here for you! If you need to talk or just want a hug, please reach out."
On Wednesday afternoon, Sam Heselwood said he saw a man in a grey hoodie speed past in a Subaru Legacy wagon with a police car in pursuit.
Shortly afterwards, the same car sped back the other way "going 200km/h at least", with eight or so police cars behind him, Heselwood said.
Minutes later the same man, now in a van, drove back the other way.
Video footage from the scene shows the van screaming down the road, mounting the kerb and almost hitting a pedestrian who narrowly ran out of the way.
The police officers had by that point appeared to have pulled out of the pursuit, Heselwood said.
• If you see Strickland, please do not approach him, as he is considered
dangerous. Instead, contact 111 immediately or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.