KEY POINTS:
Two police officers were shot at after a routine traffic stop this morning. Constable Matthew Dennis Hunt died.
• An innocent bystander has told of his wife's heroics after he was caught up in the shooting.
• A 24-year-old man will appear in court today charged with murder.
• Police are at the scene this morning where flowers have been laid.
A witness has told of his tears over not being able to help.

The police officer slain in a west Auckland shooting incident had a lifelong dream of becoming a police officer, his family say.

He was named by police this morning as Constable Matthew Dennis Hunt, aged 28 of Auckland.

A group of people in tears, including Hunt's aunt and uncle and some children, were at the scene of the shooting on Reynella Drive this morning.

Advertisement

They were allowed inside the cordon and consoled one another with hugs.

Constable Hunt started with police as a member of Wing 312 in October 2017.

He spent most of his career working frontline at Orewa and Helensville Stations before recently moving to work in the Waitemata Road Policing Team based at Harbour Bridge Station.

Hunt was raised on the Hibiscus Coast by his mother Diane, with his sister Eleanor.

He attended Orewa College.

"It was his life-long dream to be a police officer," his family said in a statement.

Before joining the police, he completed a BA in criminology and worked at Auckland Prison as a case manager.

He also spent time living in the United Kingdom before he returned to New Zealand to join the police.

Advertisement

"Matthew was a person of great integrity," his family said.

"His closest friends were like his brothers and sisters and they along with his family are absolutely heartbroken by what has happened.

"He was passionate about sport and his physical fitness and was thrilled to enjoy the recent Blues game at Eden Park with his mates."

Hunt was a person of great integrity, police said in a statement.
Hunt was a person of great integrity, police said in a statement.

Police added: "Our priority remains on supporting his family at this tragic time."

They were also looking after the welfare of other police staff who attended the incident, including the other injured officer, as well as the injured member of the public.

Routine traffic stop followed by shooting

Yesterday, Hunt and another officer had chanced upon a car that was flagged as being of interest, connected to potential criminal activity.

Advertisement

The officers turned on their lights, sirens and signalled for the car to pull over at 10.28am but soon lost sight of the car.

They then found it crashed on Reynella Drive, off Triangle Rd, one of the main arterial routes in Massey. There were two people in the vehicle.

The situation escalated quickly, if not immediately, Police Commissioner Andrew Coster later said.

A man got out, armed with a long-barrelled firearm and fired repeatedly.

Hunt was fatally shot while the other police officer was wounded.

The alleged offender then got into a silver Mazda Demio nearby — with a second person — and they fled.

Advertisement

At some point in the day one of the cars struck a member of the public, injuring them.

A police manhunt fanned out across the region, closing streets.

At 1.45pm, Coster was tasked with delivering the news of the first police officer killed on the front line in 11 years.

In Wellington, he booked a flight to Auckland to offer his support.

By 5.30pm, he was at the Henderson police station telling media they had two people in custody and had recovered a firearm.

Officers across Auckland would remain armed until Coster was confident the "right people are in custody".

Advertisement

"Our priority is to hold this offender to account," Coster told media.

"I ask that you keep this officer's family in your thoughts, as their loved one will not be coming home tonight."

Police Association President Chris Cahill also spoke out on the tragedy yesterday.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster at the Henderson Police Station. Photo / Hayden Woodward
Police Commissioner Andrew Coster at the Henderson Police Station. Photo / Hayden Woodward

"We all know being a police officer is a risky job, but officers live with the expectation that they will go home at the end of their shift," he said.

"Their families live with that expectation too, and they have every right to see their loved ones home safely."

Cahill said the killing demonstrated risks to officers in "everyday routine policing" and highlighted the dangers of the "proliferation of firearms in the hands of criminals".

Advertisement

"It is an absolute tragedy that the very people who run towards danger to keep us all safe, can end up paying the ultimate price in the line of duty," he said.