Police have opened a homicide investigation after a woman died in the West Auckland suburb of Massey last night.
Officers were called to Royal Rd near the Waitakere Badminton Centre around 5.45pm to reports a woman had been seriously injured.
“Sadly, she died at the scene. Police are working to establish what has occurred,” police said in a statement.
“There will be a police presence in the area as officers conduct a scene examination and initial inquiries, which will include going to door-to-door speaking with people in the area.”
Police gave no update on the hunt for the person responsible.
The drama unfolded as the city’s workers made their way home along the busy arterial route.
Members of the public say they heard a woman screaming and saw a body on the road.
Other witnesses described seeing a shirtless man holding a knife.
A witness told NZME they could see eight police cars, two of them dog units, with armed police standing outside the badminton facility. An ambulance was also at the scene and a helicopter was hovering above.
A distraught woman was seen standing across the road from the scene. She said she knew the victim.
Mac Yu, who was playing badminton with friends, said he heard a woman scream just after 5pm and thought it was just from another group of players.
But soon police arrived and told players they had to remain in the hall.
Yu said 13 people were kept in the hall and escorted out one by one.
He and his friends were the last four people in the hall. They were kept in there for two-and-a-half hours and escorted out just after 8pm.
Last night’s incident followed an early-morning crime spree in Waikato that included a series of commercial burglaries, a home invasion and an incident in which shots were fired at police.
Police arrested four youths but say up to six people remain on the run.
Waikato District Commander Superintendent Bruce Bird said the offenders were part of an organised crime group and “these people are now out of control”.
Police have vowed to bring those responsible to justice and say all police in Waikato are now armed.
Bird had strong words for the perpetrators.
“Give up, we’re coming to get you.”
He told media that shots were fired at police from a light-coloured car as officers were carrying out investigations on Bader St in Hamilton early yesterday morning.
The first crime was reported shortly before 2am at a commercial property on Bryant Rd, in St Andrews, Hamilton.
Just before 4am, a burglary at the Noel Leeming store on Duke St, Cambridge, was reported to authorities.
A third crime at a liquor store was reported about half an hour later on Sloane St, Te Awamutu.
Bird said police believed the crimes in Cambridge and Te Awamutu were linked, but were yet to establish if the offenders were connected to an attack in Hamilton on Saturday morning when a dairy worker had a finger and thumb chopped off by machete-wielding robbers.
Four youths, aged 19, 18, 17 and 15, were arrested yesterday and charged in connection with the burglaries.
Inquiries were continuing in the upper part of the North Island to track the other offenders, Bird said.
The youths fled the Sloane St, Te Awamutu address in two vehicles before stealing a vehicle from homeowners in Gillard Rd, after one of their vehicles was disabled.
One person was injured during the home invasion and the occupants were “understandably shaken”.
Road spikes were deployed and the stolen vehicle was spiked and brought to a stop. The offenders then fled on foot.
Police dogs were used to apprehend the four youths in Bader St, and it was here that shots were believed to have been fired at police from a passing car.
Bird believed the offenders were arming themselves in some fashion, but he did not know if they had guns.
Police were “throwing the kitchen sink” at the investigation, Bird said, adding they were “absolutely determined” to find the offenders before Christmas.
“We understand that the incidents overnight have been alarming and unsettling to our community, and we are working hard to hold the offenders accountable.”
Police are calling for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward to assist police.
“The community have had enough, we’ve had enough, and we want people to be safe and feel safe.
“We will be stepping up patrols in retail areas, tasking additional staff to the investigation effort, and working with our partners to address the root causes of youth offending.”
Front glass panels at the Cambridge Noel Leeming store had been smashed yesterday. Cabinets were toppled over and debris was strewn on the floor.
Yesterday’s crime spree came less than 48 hours after a Hamilton man had two fingers severed in a harrowing machete attack.
The Irvine St Dairy worker was opening for business at 7.30am. The four masked offenders, one of whom was armed with a machete, are still being hunted by police.
The victim underwent an eight-hour operation to reattach a finger and thumb. Anyone with information is urged to call police on 105, or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.