Police manhunt for alleged shooter

KIRSTY JOHNSTON AND ROB KIDD
Last updated 14:07 03/01/2013
Otara shooting
ROB KIDD/Fairfax NZ

NO GO AREA: Police are conducting a scene examination at the Flatbush property.

Gareth Heron
WANTED: Gareth Heron

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Police are hunting for a man with a cut-down rifle following a shooting in South Auckland last night.
 
A 23-year-old man is in a critical condition in Middlemore Hospital after being confronted and shot in the stomach at a property in Flatbush, East Tamaki, about 11pm.

Detective Inspector Jim Gallagher said the victim was understood to have been drinking with friends outside his house when he was injured.

"The victim has been in his car, he's hopped out and something has taken place. Someone else has produced a .22 calibre weapon and shot it at him at close range," Gallagher said.

A car, driven by a man, was seen speeding away from the house immediately after.

Gallagher alleged the man was Gareth Heron, 25. Heron has a tall, thin build.

He was thought to be driving a 1998 dark green Mazda Capella, registration number GKM946. Because he is thought to be in possession of the rifle, the public were warned to not approach him, but instead call police.

This morning police were conducting a scene examination and canvassing neighbours for information.

They also erected a large marquee on the side of the street - under which was a white car - and have cordoned off a 50-metre stretch of Eastland Rd.

Neighbour Vicky Sing, who had recently moved to the area, said she was attracted to the suburb because it was quiet.

She was "very, very surprised" when police knocked on her door early this morning to explain what had happened.

Another resident described being woken by what he thought was a firework but because a lot had been let off around New Years, he thought nothing of it.

He heard people talking on the street shortly afterwards but said there were no raised voices or screeching tyres.

"I'm the sort of person who'll get up and go outside if there's domestic going on... but I didn't hear anything aggressive," he said.

Gallagher said police were particularly interested in any activity around the address at 35 Eastland Rd, between 10pm and 11pm, including any sighting of the vehicle.

Anyone with information about the incident was asked to call Counties Manukau Police on 09 261 1300 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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