Part of central Taumarunui was in lockdown for four hours today as police hunted an armed man following reports of shots being fired in the town.
Police have since arrested a 19-year-old man for several offences, including discharging a firearm in an unsafe manner. The cordon was lifted just before noon.
Ruapehu police Area Commander Inspector Steve Mastrovich said there were several incidents overnight and during the morning involving the theft of vehicles such as quad bikes, trucks and cars.
He said the offender was armed with several weapons and shots were fired at ''various locations".
Armed offenders squads from Hamilton and Whanganui, along with Taumarunui Police, cordoned off two blocks including about 500m of the main street at 8.30am.
''It's a little bit confusing at this stage and we just have to work through where this guy's been to see exactly what we're dealing with,'' Mr Mastrovich said.
''I know he was seen on foot in Taumarunui with firearms. He was seen going into a domestic area and that area was cordoned off.''
While Mr Mastrovich could not comment on how the man's arrest unfolded, he was not aware of any injuries and said no shots were fired.
The offender was in possession of three firearms and was known to police.
Ruapehu i-Site manager Tania Kelland was holed up inside her train station headquarters with her son, a staff member and the cleaner under orders from armed police who set up a cordon outside on the corner of Hakiaha and Hikaia streets.
She arrived at 8am to inspect damage to her premises after a break-in overnight.The cleaner, who alerted her to the damage, then left heading south toward the Mobil Station just north of Maata St.
''She said she saw police going into the Mobil Petrol station. Then she saw the petrol station owner indicating police to go down a certain driveway. She came back up to the i-Site and we were all outside looking down to the mobil then all of a sudden a police car came and an armed officer got out of the car and told us to get back in the building.''
Other retailers and residents had also been told to lock themselves indoors, she said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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