19 Oct 2016

Ambulance station death was gang-related - police

2:39 pm on 19 October 2016

A man who died after being taken to a St John ambulance station in Whangarei early yesterday morning had been shot, and his death was gang-related, police have confirmed.

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Photo: RNZ / Lois Williams

John Henry Harris, known as John Boy, was taken to the St John base in Kensington early yesterday morning by friends but died soon afterwards.

Friends of the family told RNZ yesterday the 37-year-old man was shot, and that the attack was gang-related, but the police had previously not confirmed this.

A post-mortem has found he died as a result of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Police said Mr Harris was a patched member of the Tribesman Motorcycle Club.

Whangarei mayor Sheryl Mai said yesterday it was alarming the city had seen two homicides in two weeks, after a 25-year-old Headhunters associate was fatally shot in a car in the city two weeks ago, but police stressed today that the two shootings were not linked.

The more recent shooting was believed to be connected to a dispute between members of the Tribesman MC, over a vehicle, the police said.

There was no ongoing risk to the public, and the "number one priority" was finding the people responsible for Mr Harris' death, they said.

Two vehicles were being sought by police over this week's shooting: a red 2007 Holden Commodore, registration JCS248, which police believed was towed from an address on Hassard Street in the early hours of Tuesday morning; and a black 2011 Holden Commodore, registration FZC162, which was found on fire at Lovell Road in Ruatangata just after 12pm on Tuesday.