Car set on fire after Northland kidnapping: Cops think vehicle may be linked to police shooting

Northland police hunting two gunmen who opened fire on an officer this morning unprovoked are also actively investigating a kidnapping near Waipapa late last night.

The police officer is lucky to be alive after the early-morning incident in the Far North, which forced the closure of State Highway 11.

Officers are now working to identify and locate the vehicle and men involved in this morning’s shooting.

Detective Inspector Dene Begbie, Northland Investigations Manager, says police are also investigating a kidnapping and car-torching incident reported near Waipapa late last night.

Emergency services were alerted to the incident after the male victim of the reported kidnapping approached a Matauri Bay property asking for help.

“Thankfully this man has not sustained serious injuries during the incident and he is speaking with us to ascertain a full set of circumstances.

“Police have located a vehicle of interest to this inquiry,” Begbie said.

“This vehicle, a grey 2010 Nissan Skyline, was set alight on Puketotara Rd near Okaihau at around 4.50am

.”

The Armed Offenders Squad was deployed to the Matauri Bay area due the seriousness with which police are treating these matters, Begbie said.

“We are still working to establish if the vehicle involved in the kidnapping matter was the same vehicle used in the State Highway 11 incident.

“Both occupants who got out were believe to be male, were masked and of solid build.”

Police believe the vehicle involved was a silver or grey sedan, Begbie said.

“Given we are still establishing the circumstances of this incident, Police are limited in further comment at this stage,” Begbie said.

Meanwhile, the officer shot at in the early hours of this morning was being given support.

“They are understandably shaken by the incident and I commend the actions this officer took to ensure their own safety,” Begbie said.

Police say around 4.13am today a car pulled out in front of a police vehicle and stopped in the middle of the road on State Highway 11 near the Puketona Junction with State Highway 10.

Before the officer could get out of the patrol car, two men got out of their car and aimed guns at him.

The officer immediately retreated but one shot was fired at the vehicle which shattered the windscreen.

The officer was not harmed and quickly left the scene and called for backup.

“This kind of incident is totally unacceptable and of concern to both police and our community,” Begbie said.

“I would like to reassure the Far North community that we are taking this matter seriously and we have a determined team of investigators working to bring those involved to account.”

Anyone with information or sightings of the Nissan Skyline with the registration MWD839 is asked to contact Kerikeri Police on 105.

Alternatively information can be provided anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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