Armored vehicles help in recovery of police officer’s body as siege goes on

By Calvin Palmer

The police siege of a gunman suspected of killing three New Zealand police officers continues.

Earlier media reports that gunman Jan Molenaar, a 51-year-old former army reservist, had killed himself were incorrect.

Police called in two armored personnel vehicles to recover the body of Senior Constable Leonard Snee, 53, from the driveway of the property on Chaucer Road, Napier, where it had lain for 32 hours.

The armored vehicles and armed police were met by a flurry of shots and police returned fire but no one was injured.

The officer leading the operation, Superintendent Sam Hoyle, said it was a relief to bring Snee’s body away from the scene.

“We are pleased for the family that we are able to bring him out — it has been a traumatic and immensely difficult time for them,” Hoyle said.

Molenaar yesterday allegedly shot and killed Snee and badly wounded Senior Constables Bruce Miller, 40, and Grant Diver, 50, during a routine drugs operation at the house. A neighbor who tried to help police was also critically wounded.

Police Minister Judith Collins said police were under no political pressure to wrap up the siege.

Collins visited police tactical headquarters today and made it plain to officers she did not want anyone injured just for some sort of time frame.

She also visited Snee’s family – his wife, Vicki, sons Sam and Joseph.

“They’re trying to be so brave, they’re trying to greet all these people coming to their home, they’re doing their very, very best,” she said.

Collins also went to Hawke’s Bay Hospital and met the families of Diver and Miller. Both men were critically injured in yesterday’s shooting and one of them is in an induced coma.

“I’ve seen adult, very experienced police officers with tears in their eyes,” she said.

Most police officers in New Zealand are unarmed. Snee is the 29th officer to have been killed in the line of duty since 1890.

An account has been set up for the families of the police officers involved in the Napier shooting. Donations can be sent to the Police Casualty Donation Account at Westpac Bank, Account No. 03-0698-0544551-000.

[Based on reports by The New Zealand Herald and newsday.com.]

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