23 Jan 2009

Motorist killed after Auckland police pursuit

10:06 pm on 23 January 2009

An innocent motorist has been fatally shot and another person injured following a police pursuit through central Auckland on Friday.

Halatau Kianamanu Naitoko, 17, died after the chase ended in a shootout between police and an armed man they were pursuing on Auckland's north-western motorway.

Police say they cannot rule out the possibility that Halatau Naitoko may have been killed by an officer during the confrontation.

A second motorist is recovering in Auckland Hospital. His injuries are not serious.

Police have taken a man into custody and a sawn-off .22 rifle has been recovered from the scene.

The massive police chase from west Auckland to the central city was sparked after a man driving a grey Nissan Skyline pointed a gun at police about 1pm.

Up to 16 police cars were involved and the Armed Offenders Squad called out.

Witnesses reported dramatic scenes, with the vehicle being pursued reaching speeds of up to 160km/h through the residential areas of Ponsonby and Grey Lynn.

Police say the chase ended just before 3pm after the pursued man crashed his vehicle into a median barrier near the Western Springs on-ramp before attempting to hijack and oncoming van.

Auckland City District Commander Superintendent George Fraser says shots were fired by the man being chased and police. He says it is not known who killed Halatau Naitoko.

An out-of-district detective inspector is now in charge of the homicide investigation.

The motorway has been re-opened to traffic.