Body found in Tauranga linked to Omanawa double homicide

Police have found the body of a woman in Tauranga believed to be linked to the double homicide in Omanawa on Tuesday.

The woman, found at a property on Lynwood Place on Friday afternoon, is understood to have been "dead for a couple of days", the result of a "domestic incident". No one is being sought in relation to her death.

On Saturday morning, police announced a 25-year-old man had been charged with the murder of the two men at an Omanawa property. He was arrested on Friday after being cornered by the armed offenders squad in Christchurch.

The arrest also followed a dramatic police chase and shootout on Thursday which ended with the death of the driver. The vehicle he had been driving was wanted in connection with the double homicide.

There has been speculation that the double homicide was gang-related. District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor said on Saturday that the incidents this week "appear to be unrelated to gang conflict, although police are aware the incidents have involved gang members".

Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell told Newshub on Friday that a spike in violence in the city was related to gangs.

In particular, he points to a correlation with the arrival of so-called '501s' - Kiwi gang members deported from Australia - and a growing level of "sophistication" for criminals here. 

"Things have changed. Not just here in Tauranga but in New Zealand.  With the 501 deportees coming out of Australia, the level of sophistication they bring, the level of violence they bring, and the frequency of which we're seeing it," Powell told The AM Show on Friday.

He says he is not specifically blaming the 501s for this week's violence, but says there has been a "dynamic change" with gangs acting more brazenly.

"And as we saw last night,  as we've seen over the last two or three weeks, [they're] absolutely prepared to take a fight to the police."

He called the escalating gang violence a methamphetamine problem.

"It's a drug turf war and the sooner we cut the head off the meth monster the better."

Gangs' international connections mean more drugs than ever are flowing into the country, Powell said. 

"People would say to me you can't resource this, it's just too expensive to stop meth coming into the country. My response to that is we can't afford not to.  It is destroying our society and we've got to find a way of curbing the inflow of meth into this country."

Offender fired 'volley of shots' at police

Thursday's car chase and shootout left police vehicles riddled with bullet holes and officers "visibly upset". 

Speaking to media on Friday, McGregor said the offender in the fleeing vehicle fired at officers on numerous occasions. 

"Along Carmichael Rd, the driver leaned out of the driver's door and fired a volley of shots at the police vehicle. He did this on numerous occasions," he said.

"At one stage, he actually stopped the vehicle, got out, and took deliberate aim at the police vehicle and fired another volley of shots."

Eventually, the vehicle stopped, but the driver continued to shoot at police, who returned fire. In the exchange of bullets, the driver was killed. 

"This was quite a traumatic event for the officers involved. The police vehicles have got bullet holes in them and the officers involved are quite distraught and distressed over this matter."

Four officers were involved, and they are now on a stand-down period for 10 days and receiving counselling. 

"They are visibly upset."