Alleged gunman charged
An Auckland man has appeared in court charged with firing a gun at a police officer after a car chase in the Bay of Plenty overnight.
The man appeared in Tauranga District Court yesterday afternoon.
He faced one charge of using a firearm against a law enforcement officer but other charges were expected to follow, police said.
He was remanded in custody until August 11.
About 8.45pm yesterday police received a driving complaint about a car on State Highway 2 near Katikati.
A short time later the vehicle was located at Whakamarama and as police approached it, it drove off towards Tauranga. Police chased the car, and laid spikes to try to stop the vehicle.
At the Baypark roundabout the vehicle lost control and came to rest.
As three police officers got out of their vehicle, a gun was fired in their direction.
A man from the vehicle then headed on foot into Truman Lane as members of the public started to leave the nearby Baypark Arena.
Police said they were aware of attempts to take three vehicles from members of the public at gunpoint.
A staff member at a nearby commercial building was then confronted by a man with a gun and a vehicle was taken.
Police tried to challenge the man but car failed to stop. The vehicle was then spiked and the officer deploying the spikes had to take action to avoid being struck by it.
Police then lost sight of the vehicle. It was spotted about 40 minutes later near the Maungatapu Bridge and another chase started.
The vehicle was followed onto Marine Parade, when a gun was pointed out of the driver's window, police said. The weapon then fell to the ground.
A short time later the vehicle came to a stop and a 32-year-old man from Auckland was arrested by armed officers.
A firearm was recovered in Marine Parade and both spent and live ammunition was recovered in the area of Baypark.
Area Commander for Western Bay of Plenty, Inspector Clifford Paxton, said: ``This was an extremely fast-moving and serious situation.
‘‘The priority for police staff was to try to contain the situation as quickly as possible and maximise the safety of the community.
‘‘We are extremely pleased that no-one was injured.’’