Policemen shot in Napier

Most New Zealanders will know about this tragedy which happened in Napier, a city on the East Coast of the North Island. It started on Thursday morning when three police officers arrived at a house to search for cannabis plants. Cannabis is a drug which is also called marijuana. The man who lived in the house arrived home after walking his dog to find the police officers at his house. The police officers were not armed and they did not wear bullet-proof jackets. They did not expect trouble. However, the man went inside and started shooting. One policeman is dead, two others are seriously injured and a neighbour who tried to take the gun away from the man is also seriously hurt in hospital.

The police Armed Offenders Squad were called. People who lived in the area were not allowed to go home and those who were already at home, were not allowed to leave. All day Friday and part of Saturday, police surrounded the house. The man continued to fire shots but the shots stopped some time on Saturday morning. Finally, police managed to enter the house and they found his body in a bedroom. They were worried that the man could have set wires to explosives if they entered the house so they were very careful. They found weapons, bullets and explosives in the house. The man did not have a gun licence.

Shootings like this are very unusual in New Zealand and police are not usually armed. This police officer who was shot dead is the 29th police officer killed while on duty since 1890.