Gunman finally arrested
A six hour standoff between police and an armed man ended without injury.
A 29-year-old man was arrested following the standoff and was to appear at the Rotorua District Court yesterday where a raft of charges relating to the incident will be laid.
The armed man was wanted in relation to an aggravated robbery and had been on the run from police for over two weeks.
The drama unfolded when police and police armed offenders squad closed down Grace Cres in Tokoroa at 3.30pm on Monday.
Tokoroa Senior Sergeant Graeme Hill said the armed man ignored police requests to surrender.
‘‘When you’re dealing with an armed person you can’t take any risks,’’ Hill said.
Police, fire and ambulance services stayed at the scene until the man was apprehended about 10pm.
Angela Thornton, 81, who lives on the street, said the incident came as a huge shock.
‘‘Then I heard all this yelling and an armed [officer] knocked on my door and said stay inside and lock your doors."
A couple of ‘‘bangs’’ went off, she said. However Hill said they were not gun shots.
Thornton said she had never experienced anything like it in the 30 years she had lived on Grace Cres.
‘‘I just couldn’t believe it, I could see them [armed offenders] creeping around . . . and then I turned my security lights off because I didn’t want them going off every time they walked past them.’’ Thornton had a restless sleep. ‘‘They never came and told me it was all over. I didn’t think they had found anyone because they were still shining lights up in trees.’’
Meanwhile another neighbour Mark Biddick, said he was shocked the street wasn’t evacuated.
‘‘If they had a gun we were right in the firing line.’’
He moved to the address about four months ago and said it had not been an easy week.
‘‘The other night there was a police chase. The police let the sirens rip at about 2am and frightened the bejesus out of all of us. This last week this street has been hard to live in.’’
Hill thanked the residents on Grace Cres.
‘‘ Their patience and understanding was much appreciated .’’
Stand off: Fire, ambulance, police and police armed offenders squad converged on Grace Cres on Monday night for a six-hour stand off with an armed, wanted man.