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Strong lines of inquiry into two shootings

The hunt continues for the gunman or gunmen involved in two shooting incidents in Wairoa at the weekend and police say they are following strong lines of inquiry over what they call “intimidation” attacks.

Blasts from a shotgun were fired at the front door of the home of a Wairoa police officer on Saturday night and at the Wairoa police station on Sunday night.

No one was injured but the officer and his family were inside their home at the time of the first incident.

Acting Eastern District Commander Detective Superintendent Iain Chapman told The Herald the evidence gathered so far indicated the attacks were aimed at a particular police officer.

“The evidence as it currently stands points towards attempted intimidation of that particular officer, which is totally unacceptable.

“All members of Wairoa police are members of that community and deserve the respect of being able to go about their work and their lives without this type of attack.”

He met with the families of all the Wairoa staff on Monday.

“There is an incredible sense of solidarity.”

Detective Superintendent Chapman said the entire police family in Wairoa had “wrapped around and supported the officer and his family”.

“I am really proud of our staff in Wairoa. They are incredibly staunch and resilient people, and they are proud of their community.”

Police had received a steady flow of information relating to both incidents, some of it from the town’s gangs, he said.

“From what we are hearing the shootings were as unacceptable to the community as they were to us, and the information we are getting from the gangs indicates that it’s unacceptable to them too.”

The inquiry team’s focus had been around ensuring that they covered all the pieces of information that came in.

“Based on the information flow so far, we believe that the public of Wairoa want this solved and are prepared to help us solve it.

“I would say we are following several strong lines of inquiry.”

Police from Gisborne have joined the operation, including members of the Gisborne Armed Offenders Squad.

AOS and police from other parts of Hawke’s Bay have joined the inquiry too.

“With the extra staff available, we have increased the police presence in the town in terms of armed and uniformed patrols,” said Detective Superintendent Chapman.

“An Armed Response Team has been operational since the weekend.”

The operation of that team patrolling the township would be reviewed daily.

“As long as the threat exists we will keep the resources in place that we need to keep the town and our staff safe.”

Anyone with information about the Saturday and Sunday night attacks has been urged to contact Wairoa police on 105, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.