Kidnappings, shots fired in eastern Bay of Plenty incident

By and is republished with permission

A Kawerau man is facing numerous charges after allegedly pointing a gun at police, evading arrest and holding people hostage in their own homes.

A 31-year-old Kawerau man has been arrested. Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

The “dangerous and unpredictable incident” began when two police approached a “suspicious” vehicle on State Highway 30 in the eastern Bay of Plenty about 10pm on Wednesday.

The occupant fired a gun, then pointed it at the officers before driving off.

“An immediate police response allowed officers to set up cordons and locate the vehicle, preventing the suspect from leaving the area,” detective senior sergeant Paul Wilson said on Thursday.

The suspect stopped at a property on Hydro Road, just south of Edgecumbe, and held two people living there hostage, Wilson said.

He then entered another building where he allegedly assaulted and held a third person, in their 70s, hostage.

Police managed to rescue the first two hostages safely at about midnight.

Shortly after at 12.30am, the suspect gave himself up without incident.

One person was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

A sawn-off .22 rifle was recovered, Wilson said. Police will continue to examine the scenes.

A 31-year-old man has been charged with using a firearm against law enforcement, kidnapping, wounding with intent to injure, aggravated burglary, failing to stop, threatening to kill, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle and wilful damage.

He is expected to appear in the Whakatāne District Court on Thursday.

Hydro Road in eastern Bay of Plenty.

Hydro Road in eastern Bay of Plenty. Photo: Google Maps

“This was a dangerous and unpredictable incident,” Wilson said.

“Three victims have been through a distressing ordeal in their own home, a place where they should feel safe, and two police officers have faced a totally unacceptable threat while going about their duty.

“Police are ensuring the victims and the officers have the support they need.

“I’m proud of the actions of our police, who brought this volatile incident to a peaceful conclusion. Events like this are distressing for our communities; there will be an increased presence in the area and officers will be carrying reassurance patrols.”

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