Chances of retribution for Killer Beez shooting 'high' - gang expert

In a brazen, public attack, the leader of the Killer Beez was shot in the back and a former gang-researcher says there is the possibility violence will escalate.

A member of the Tribesman gang, Akustino Tae, has been arrested and charged with the attempted murder of Killer Beez kingpin Josh Masters.

Masters was at an Auckland Harley-Davidson store in Mt Wellington on Friday when he was attacked.

It is understood he was shot in the middle of his back and that the bullet hit one of his vertebrae.

As of April 26, Masters was in a stable condition at Auckland Hospital.

"Josh Masters is a very charismatic leader. He's got a lot of friends, and they won't be too happy about what's happened to him, and that raises the prospects of the escalation of violence," sociologist Jarrod Gilbert told The AM Show.

"He's been in prison for a very long time, he hasn't been on the streets for very long. With the amount of people he's got around him, the chances of retribution are high," Gilbert said.

He says "blanket policing" of anyone associated with either side of the dispute will be in place, so that movements and actions by gang members will be restricted.

"That tends to simmer tensions down while cooler heads can prevail," Gilbert said.

He adds that, while there is the possibility violence could escalate, the public doesn't need to be too concerned as the dispute is likely internal.

The Killer Beez was founded by Masters in the mid-2000s, with the leader declaring it as a way to help south Auckland children out of poverty.

But during the 2008 drug sting, police seized $500,000 worth of P and cannabis, $20,000 cash and stolen property.

Masters was convicted of dealing P and money laundering and sentenced to 10 years, five months imprisonment in 2012.

Masters allegedly continued to run the Killer Beez from prison, with the gang most recently allegedly involved in a 2013 Waikato prison riot, as well as attacks on guards at Auckland Prison in 2016.

He was released from prison last year after spending four years behind bars in remand.

The Killer Beez has long been a feeder gang for the Tribesmen - but sources have suggested to Newshub things between the gangs have soured.