New Zealand suspect surrenders after 4 officers wounded

AP News
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Posted: Mar 09, 2016 4:41 PM
New Zealand suspect surrenders after 4 officers wounded

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A gunman suspected of shooting and wounding four police officers surrendered Thursday morning after spending the night holed up in a rural New Zealand house, police said.

Police said they negotiated with the man throughout the night and he gave himself up without further incident. Two of the officers have been released from area hospitals, while the other two remained in stable condition and in "good spirits," said Police Commissioner Mike Bush, who visited them Thursday.

The gunman is suspected of shooting at an aircraft that police were using while engaged in what they called a "cannabis recovery operation" and later shooting the four officers after police surrounded his home.

Such violence against police is relatively rare in New Zealand, where patrol officers don't typically carry firearms.

The events began Wednesday when police were flying an aircraft about 70 kilometers (43 miles) east of the North Island town of Rotorua, said Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Clement.

Clement said police heard three shots fired at about 10:30 a.m. About an hour later, a fourth shot was fired, apparently in the direction of the police aircraft.

As officers on the ground moved in to arrest the man, he shot three of them, Clement said. Police said the man also shot a fourth officer in the hand in a separate encounter. The officers shot were all members of a special unit whose members carry firearms.

As the standoff continued Wednesday evening, police enlisted the help of the military, which provided three light-armored vehicles and a helicopter.

Bush, the police commissioner, said in a statement that he had launched a major investigation to build a full picture of what happened.