West Auckland incident: Man shot dead by police after he opened fire on three officers

Police Commissioner Andrew Coster said police are working hard to make the Auckland community, especially out west, safer for everyone after a flurry of firearms incidents.  

Coster fronted a media conference to provide an update on the West Auckland shooting that saw a man shot by police after opening fire on officers on Monday morning.

He said police are focused on getting guns out of the community. 

"We are concerned about the escalation we've seen of violence," he says. "We are very focused on firearms particularly ever since we launched Operation Tauwhiro in February."

Coster said since February, they had recovered almost 1,000 firearms which were predominantly from gang members. 

He said the incident on Monday morning was not gang-related and were not seeking anyone else in relation to the incident. 

Coster said when he received news of the incident his "heart sank". 

"Look, it is the worst thing you can have in my position to get that notification that officers have been injured," Coster said. "When I heard that multiple officers had been shot my heart sank, it is.

He said following the media conference he would visit the three officers that were shot and are in hospital.    

Coster said a man died after he opened fire on police responding to a house fire and reports of gunshots in Glen Eden, Auckland.

Police and the armed offenders squad (AOS) were called to the address in Danube Place at 8:17am on Monday. 

Police said AOS tried to negotiate with the man but he fired at the officers. Police then shot the man and he died.

"We are working to notify the man's next of kin and will be providing them with support at this difficult time," police said in a statement earlier on Monday. 

"Two of our officers have moderate injuries and a third officer has been seriously injured. All three are in Auckland Hospital in a stable condition receiving treatment. The injuries are not life threatening.

West Auckland incident: Man shot dead by police after he opened fire on three officers
Photo credit: Newshub

Association vice-president Mike McRandle says the officers who attended the incident attempted to resolve it calmly but according to the police account, matters escalated to the point they had to respond.

"It is dreadful that a person has died, and also it is an enormous strain on the officers put in a position of having to return fire. 

"Using lethal force is the most difficult decision for a police officer and has long-lasting ramifications. Accordingly, the association is offering all available welfare to these members and ensuring the best support for them and their families."

Several armed police officers are on the scene.
Several armed police officers are on the scene. Photo credit: Facebook

Mr McRandle says the shooting is yet another example of the terrible consequences of the proliferation of easily accessible firearms throughout New Zealand communities.

"Earlier today we read that there were more than 900 firearm offences in Auckland this year alone. In the past five years 350 people have been shot and injured across Auckland. Daily there are incidents of innocent members of the public being caught in gun violence, armed robberies and car-jackings, inter-gang warfare with firearms involved, and police officers also being shot at.

"We are witnessing a policing environment that is progressively more and more dangerous and it is no surprise to the association that the majority of its constabulary members believe they need to be armed."

Earlier a neighbour -  who didn't want to be named - told Newshub he heard gunshots earlier in the morning. 

"We just woke up and opened up the window and saw a bunch of smoke. At first we thought it was a bonfire and then yeah, it looks like a pretty big fire. We heard some banging earlier, we thought it was gunshots or something," he said. 

The man said he feels "unsafe" after a spate of violence in the area. 

West Auckland incident: Man shot dead by police after he opened fire on three officers
Photo credit: Newshub

Another neighbour, who didn't want to be named, said there were multiple people at the address throughout the night. They claimed they had machetes and were threatening the resident. 

Several residents posted to a local community page saying they are beginning to feel unsafe in the suburb. One woman said she wanted to mow her lawns but was scared to go outside. 

"Feels like we living in a war zone... Too close to home…," another said.