Gangs fight in sub­ur­ban park

The Timaru Herald - - NATIONAL NEWS - Stuff re­porters

Po­lice be­lieve a gun was fired dur­ing a gang brawl in Stokes Val­ley on Sun­day.

The al­ter­ca­tion be­tween gang mem­bers at De­laney Park, Ge­orge St, in the Hutt Val­ley sub­urb, sparked a large po­lice re­sponse on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Res­i­dents re­ported hear­ing a gun­shot, and watch­ing roughly 22 Mon­grel Mob mem­bers fight 30 Black Power mem­bers.

Yes­ter­day, po­lice said it was be­lieved a gun was fired about 3.45pm. Po­lice searched sev­eral ad­dresses in Ge­orge St af­ter the fight but made no ar­rests.

In­spec­tor James Mckay said po­lice were com­mit­ted to iden­ti­fy­ing those re­spon­si­ble, and were fol­low­ing pos­i­tive lines of in­quiry. ‘‘We want the peo­ple of Stokes Val­ley to feel safe, and we want them to know that vi­o­lence and the un­law­ful use of firearms will not be tol­er­ated.’’

Stuff also re­ceived re­ports that some in­volved in the clash were armed with ma­chetes, how­ever po­lice were un­able to con­firm these claims.

Res­i­dents of the Hutt Val­ley sub­urb want some­thing done about the gang vi­o­lence fol­low­ing the brawl.

A res­i­dent told Stuff he saw the in­ci­dent and called the gangs out by name.

‘‘I seen the whole thing; there were 22 Mon­grel Mob mem­bers and 30 Black Power.’’

An­other nearby Stokes Val­ley res­i­dent – who also did not wish to be named – heard yelling and what sounded like a gun­shot.

He heard from other wit­nesses that some of the peo­ple in­volved were wear­ing gang patches and weapons were used.

‘‘I heard it all go­ing on and have spo­ken to a cou­ple of peo­ple that saw it.’’

He said gang vi­o­lence had been a big is­sue in the area in re­cent months and res­i­dents have had enough.

‘‘Ap­par­ently, there were kids around when it was hap­pen­ing.

‘‘My main con­cern is that an in­no­cent by­stander is go­ing to get hurt.’’ He said some­thing needed to be done. ‘‘This is like the third time there has been ei­ther guns or a knife fight in the last six months in Stokes Val­ley, and it’s be­cause Black Power and Mon­grel Mob live on the same street. It’s a pretty easy fix. If you get one of them out of there, then it won’t hap­pen.’’

It had got to the point where he and his part­ner avoided shop­ping in the area be­cause of the risk of gang vi­o­lence. ‘‘I won’t go to the lo­cal su­per­mar­ket ... be­cause I’ve been down there be­fore and there have been gang fights, and there’s been blood and bro­ken bot­tles on the pave­ment.’’

Armed po­lice pa­trolled the Ge­orge St area, as of­fi­cers searched houses to ‘‘lo­cate [the] in­di­vid­u­als in­volved’’.

There were no re­ports of in­jury and Welling­ton Free Am­bu­lance con­firmed they re­ceived no call­outs re­lated to the in­ci­dent on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Po­lice con­firmed at least 10 units were at the scene and po­lice staff were posted in the area overnight. An of­fi­cer at the scene de­scribed it as a ‘‘volatile sit­u­a­tion’’.

At 5pm on Sun­day, po­lice, in­clud­ing some armed with as­sault ri­fles, were seen sur­round­ing a large group of Black Power mem­bers who had con­gre­gated around a house.

The gang mem­bers dis­si­pated as seven po­lice cars left the scene.

By 7pm no ar­rests had been made. Po­lice moved on to De­laney Park in Ge­orge St, the ap­par­ent lo­ca­tion of the skir­mish, and ap­peared to con­duct an­other search.

Gang mem­bers ap­proached by Stuff de­clined to com­ment.

One neigh­bour sug­gested every­one needed to come to­gether and ‘‘what do you get when you mix red and blue? Pur­ple. Every­one should wear pur­ple and come to­gether for our whanau’’.

THOMAS MANCH/STUFF

Armed po­lice search ve­hi­cles af­ter a gang brawl in the Hutt Val­ley sub­urb of Stokes Val­ley, north of Welling­ton.

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