A man wanted over a parole breach is undergoing surgery tonight after he was shot by police in Motueka this afternoon.
Ford William Hurinui, 27, is in a critical condition after the confrontation with police on a residential street this afternoon.
Police tonight said they were seeking a second man who was believed to have been in the vehicle with Hurinui. They have called on him to contact police.
At a press conference in Wellington this evening, Tasman District Commander Superintendent Karyn Malthus said police were alerted that Hurinui, who was wanted for breaching his parole conditions, was seen driving in Motueka, near Nelson, earlier today.
Police found the vehicle about 3.30pm but the driver failed to stop.
A “short pursuit” ensued through residential streets of Motueka before coming to an end on a no-exit road, Wharepapa Grove.
Police allege Hurinui got out and aimed a gun at police officers, who attempted to negotiate with him.
He then attempted to flee on foot, but was pursued by police.
Ms Malthus said police called on the man to surrender, but he failed to do so and once again aimed a gun at police.
“He was then shot. Ambulance was close by and medical attention was provided very quickly.”
Hurinui was now undergoing surgery at Nelson Hospital and his family has been notified.
Ms Malthus was unable to confirm where, or how many times, the man was shot.
She was also unable to elaborate as to the man’s criminal history.
“This is a rapidly unfolding situation for police at this time and I’m not prepared to talk about any specifics.
“We are still piecing together the events concerning today’s incident.”
Ms Malthus said no police staff or members of the public were injured in the incident.
“The police staff involved are being offered appropriate support by police and our welfare services.
“I would like to stress that no police officer goes to work wanting for this sort of thing to happen. However, the reality is that we work in a dynamic and at times high risk environment.
“That sometimes requires us to deploy firearms in order to keep members of the public and our staff safe.”
The Independent Police Conduct Authority had now been notified and there will be a full police investigation into the incident, she said.
Ms Malthus explained why police had made the decision to shoot at the offender.
“When an offender presents a firearm at police that is a very very dangerous act. The tactical options that we have available to ourselves, the first tactical option we always have is communication.
“However, an offender who will present a firearm at police will run that risk of being shot.”
Earlier today, the deputy principal of nearby Parklands School, Jenny Milne, said there were rumours this afternoon of a firearm used in the incident.
“We’ve advised people to come away from the front of the school and leave it to the police.”
She said police had not contacted them to lock down the school.
Motueka resident Haylee Biggs said she was at the scene after an ambulance left, but there was plenty of talk about what happened on the street.
“There were quite a few people on the street watching and a boy was going around saying there was a gunman, but didn’t see much myself.”
Police Association president Greg O’Connor said police officers carrying out routine duties had been confronted by armed offenders three times in the last nine days.
“New Zealanders need to understand that the days of New Zealand criminals being unarmed are well gone.
“On each of these three occasions, a police officer could very easily have lost their life. This is at a time when police commanders are facing a funding crisis and are struggling to fill frontline staffing positions.
“It is not enough for Governments to talk about reductions in reported crime when serious violence continues to be a major problem in New Zealand society and is boiling over into incidents like these.”
Yesterday, police were shot at after a chase during the central North Island.
Ms Malthus said it was important to remember the incidents were not related.
“And thankfully these kinds of incidents are rare,” she said.