King Cobras linked to shooting - police

KIRSTY JOHNSTON
Last updated 15:16 09/01/2013

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Members of the King Cobras gang could be behind a killing in West Auckland, police say.

Daniel Fifita Turner, 29, died after he was shot in the chest before midnight on December 18.

A second man was shot in the leg when he tried to drag Turner into a car during the incident on Afton Pl, in Ranui.

Police are yet to find the weapon used or the killer, but today asked for help from the public.

Detective Inspector Bruce Scott said police were investigating links between the shooting and members of the King Cobra gang.

Investigators were keen to hear from anyone who saw a man running from Afton Pl around 11pm on December 18.

The man is described as having heavily tattooed hands and forearms.

Scott said 20 police staff from across Auckland were working on the investigation.

At the time of the shooting, residents of Afton Pl, a small cul-de-sac, said they heard gunshots around midnight and saw a car speeding away.

"I thought it was fireworks," neighbour Sandy Whare said.

"Like one of those Roman candles."

Another resident said the shooting happened when a group of young men turned up at house "to cause trouble" and got into a fight, which quickly escalated.

"The man who passed away, his body was lying on the road, and then they just pulled it into the car and drove away," the neighbour said.

The King Cobras are one of New Zealand's oldest gangs, formed by Samoan migrants in Ponsonby in the 1950s.

While many of the gang's senior members are currently in jail, the gang remains active in Auckland.

Last year, there were reports of numerous "dial-a-tinnie" operations run out of South Auckland, where young men trying to join the gang were making neighbourhood drug deliveries.

In September, four King Cobra members and associates were jailed for kidnapping and assaulting two Auckland men after a business arrangement turned sour. Joe Tie, Robert Logo, Ross Romana and Ofisa Kopelani were sentenced on multiple charges, including kidnapping, blackmail and wounding with intent.

The gang's West Auckland president, Bert Jury, is currently awaiting a hearing for large-scale cocaine dealing after an earlier trial was aborted.

Previously, gang leaders have managed to run drug rings from inside prison. In 2011

King Cobra gang leader Ulaiasi "Rocky" Pulete, already serving a 14-year sentence at Paremoremo, was convicted of conspiracy to supply methamphetamine. 

Anyone in the Afton Pl area who heard or saw anything suspicious can call Waitakere CIB on 09 839 0600 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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- Auckland Now

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