Suspect on run after 1 New Zealand officer killed, 1 injured


WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) – New Zealand police say one officer has been shot and killed and a second shot and injured in Auckland, and that the suspect is on the run.

Police said they were carrying out a routine traffic stop Friday morning when a person began firing at them before driving away. They said the suspect’s vehicle hit a bystander, who was also injured.

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said there was nothing to indicate anything was out of the ordinary when the car was pulled over.

He said the officers weren’t carrying guns. New Zealand police do not routinely carry guns but typically have them available in the trunk of their vehicles.

“This is a shocking situation, this is the worst news police and their families can receive,” Coster told news media.

He said the second officer has been hospitalized with serious injuries, while the bystander is in a hospital with minor injuries.

Eight schools in the area have been put into lockdown, Coster said, and police have set up road cordons. They have advised people to stay away.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the news was devastating.

“To lose a police officer is to lose someone working for all of us, but also a family member, someone’s loved one and friend,” she said in a statement.

Witness Elaine Taniela told The New Zealand Herald she was at home when she heard gunshots. She said a friend who was on his way to her house at the time described seeing an officer on the ground shaking.

New Zealand last year enacted new gun control laws banning the deadliest types of semiautomatic weapons after a mass shooting in which a gunman killed 51 people at two Christchurch mosques during Friday prayers.

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, with about 1.7 million people.

Armed police gather at the scene of a shooting incident following a routine traffic stop in Auckland, New Zealand, Friday, June 19, 2020. New Zealand police say a few officers have been shot and seriously injured and a suspect is on the run. (Michael Craig/New Zealand Herald via AP)