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Kawerau Man Charged Following Serious Incident in Edgecumbe

A 31-year-old Kawerau man was due to appear in the Whakatāne District Court yesterday after three people were held hostage in Edgecumbe this week.

Police approached a suspicious vehicle on State Highway 30 at about 10pm, where the sole occupant discharged a firearm.

The man then presented the weapon at both officers, though neither was injured.

Police said, as the officers withdrew to a safe location, the suspect took a vehicle from nearby a residential property and drove off.

Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Wilson said Police set up cordons to locate the vehicle and prevent the suspect from leaving the area.

The Police helicopter, Eagle, were deployed from Auckland to assist units on the ground.

"In an attempt to avoid Police, the stolen vehicle drove into a Hydro Road property, where two occupants at the address were allegedly verbally threatened and held hostage,"

"The suspect entered another building on the property where a third victim, in their seventies, was allegedly assaulted and held hostage for more than two hours,"

"About midnight, Police extracted the two victims from the main house while the Police Negotiation Team engaged with the suspect, who remained in the other building," Wilson says.

Police say, the man surrendered at about 12.30am and was taken into custody without incident.

"The injured victim was taken to hospital with minor injuries and a sawn-off .22 rifle was recovered at the scene," Wilson says.

"This was a dangerous and unpredictable incident. Three victims have been through a distressing ordeal in their own home, a place where they should feel safe, and two Police officers have faced a totally unacceptable threat while going about their duty,"

"Police are ensuring the victims and the officers have the support they need," Wilson adds.

A 31-year-old Kawerau man was due to appear in the Whakatāne District Court yesterday.

Charges include using a firearm against law enforcement, kidnapping, wounding with intent to injure, aggravated burglary, failing to stop, threatening to kill, unlawfully taking a motor vehicle, and wilful damage.

Police say, there will be an increased presence in the area and officers will be carrying reassurance patrols.

Public Interest Journalism funded through New Zealand On Air.


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