Man armed with a crossbow accosts medic

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 12:00 19/08/2014

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A St John ambulance paramedic has been accosted by a crossbow-wielding man looking for drugs after being lured to a Feilding property with a hoax call.

Police are looking for a tall, thin Maori man, after the female ambulance officer was confronted in Fraser Drive, Feilding, about 11.30pm on Friday.

Senior Sergeant Phil Ward said it appeared that a hoax call, saying a person had been injured after falling from a deck, was made to the ambulance service to lure the ambulance to the street.

The officer, who was working alone at the time, had retrieved her medical kit and was out of the vehicle when she was confronted by the man, armed with a crossbow.

He demanded the contents of her medical kit, but when she told him it wouldn't have anything of interest to him and did not contain any drugs, he lowered the crossbow and walked away.

The officer was a bit shaken, but otherwise unharmed.

She has since gone on pre-arranged leave.

The man is described as "polite and well-spoken", and was wearing a pair of black pants, a black hoodie, and a facial covering that was partly obscuring his face.

Ward said it was apparent that the man's motive was to obtain drugs, and it was a concern that someone would be willing to go to such extremes to acquire them.

New Zealand Ambulance Association chairman Mark Quin said the incident highlighted the dangers of single crewing. But even with two people working, the same thing could have happened, he said.

Single crewing in ambulances was primarily a funding problem, and although daytime callout issues had mainly been fixed, both Feilding and Palmerston North often relied on volunteers at night-time.

In this instance, a volunteer had been working with the officer, but had gone home shortly before the job came in.

Such incidents had happened to St John staff in other parts of the country, and assault and threats appeared to be on the rise.

Last month, Donald Munro, 40, was sentenced in the Palmerston North District Court to six weeks' jail for assault following a March 16 incident in which he told a female St John ambulance officer he would hunt her down and hurt her.

The officer was working on his 3-year-old son, who had stopped breathing, but he did not feel she was working fast enough. Munro shoved her several times while she worked, at one point pushing her so hard she fell on to a stretcher inside the ambulance.

St John central district operations manager Steve Yanko said following a discussion with police, staff had been told they should contact police if they found themselves responding to a suspicious call.

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St John took such incidents as the one in Feilding seriously, and had zero tolerance for threats to staff.

Anyone who has any information about the matter, or who saw the man that night, is asked to contact Feilding police on 323 6363, or information can be given anonymously through the Crimestoppers line, 0800 555 111.

- Manawatu Standard

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