By Calvin Palmer
The police officer in charge of the siege of a gunman suspected of shooting three police officers in New Zealand said today the situation was “incredibly tense”.
Superintendent Sam Hoyle told a news conference the situation in Napier could end in minutes or could go on for days.
He also revealed that a police dog in a van outside the house on Chaucer Road is thought to be dead.
Hoyle said communications with the gunman, 51-year-old Jan Molenaar, were ongoing, with negotiators calling him and Molenaar calling officers.
Police are also speaking with the former army reservist’s friends and associates to try to better understand his motivations.
Hoyle said Molenaar was a “complex character” and was prone to mood swings. He has a great deal of ammunition and has fired at police using more than one caliber of bullet indicating he has several weapons.
Hoyle added “every resource available to the New Zealand police” was at his disposal. More than 100 officers from both the North and South islands are now at the scene.
The siege started yesterday morning when Senior Constable Leonard Snee, 53, was fatally shot when he approached the Chaucer Road house with two colleagues in what started off as a low-key drugs raid.
Senior Constable Bruce Miller, 40, a community constable in the suburb of Ahuriri, dog handler Senior Constable Grant Diver, 50, and a neighbor were wounded by gunshots.
All are in a critical condition in the intensive care unit at Hawke’s Bay Hospital.
Civil Defense confirmed that 160 people had been evacuated from the area around the siege zone, 93 of whom stayed overnight at Napier Intermediate School, while others stayed with friends and family.
A number of residents living just outside the cordon, but still reasonably close to the scene, have been asked to stay in their homes.
Three schools in the area — Napier Central School, Nelson Park School, and Nelson Intermediate – were closed today.
[Based on a report by The New Zealand Herald.]