WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand police said an officer was shot and killed and another wounded in the leg in Auckland on Friday morning when they stopped a car. The suspect was on the run.
Police said officers were carrying out a routine traffic stop when they pulled over a car carrying two people. One of them used a long-barreled gun to begin firing at the officers before the car sped away, police said. They said the car 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 first 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,” Coster told media. “It is the worst news police, and police officers’ families, can ever receive in the course of what we do.”
He said the second officer was hospitalized with serious leg injuries, while the bystander was in a hospital with minor injuries.
Eight schools in the area were put into lockdown, Coster said, and police set up road cordons. They advised people to stay away.
Local media reported that heavily armed police had raided at least one home near the site of the shooting. There were conflicting reports about whether anybody had been taken into custody. Police did not immediately provide further details.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the news of the officer’s death 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.
Police Minister Stuart Nash said the officer “was a man who dedicated his career to keeping us safe.”
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.
The last time a New Zealand police officer was killed in the line of duty was 11 years ago.
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.
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