Unarmed New Zealand cop dies in 'devastating' shooting at routine traffic stop

  • An unarmed New Zealand police officer was shot and killed in Auckland during a routine traffic stop.
  • His fellow officer sustained leg injuries and a bystander was hospitalised after being hit by the fleeing car.
  • Police have launched a massive search for the occupants of the car, but they have not yet been found.


Wellington – An unarmed New Zealand police officer was fatally shot on an Auckland street on Friday, the force's first death in the line of duty for more than a decade, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern describing the attack as "devastating".

Police said the officer and a colleague were carrying out a routine traffic stop involving a car carrying two people when one of them produced a rifle and opened fire.

One officer died, another sustained serious leg injuries and a member of the public was hospitalised after being struck by the fleeing car, commissioner Andrew Coster said.

Police immediately launched a massive search for the two men.

"This was the type of work that our officers undertake every day to keep the public safe," Coster told reporters.

"At this stage, there is nothing to indicate that this job was going to be anything out of the ordinary."

He declined to speculate on a possible motive for the shooting.

Firearm laws

Ardern offered condolences to the officer's family and police colleagues.

"This is devastating news. Our police officers work hard every day to keep us and our communities safe," she said in a statement.

Armed police flooded the suburb of Massey in west Auckland searching for the offenders, but Coster said they had not yet been found.

The officer is the 23rd to be shot dead on duty since 1890, according to the police website, with the previous fatal shooting in 2009.

Coster said the officers involved in the Auckland incident were unarmed.

Police last week decided against introducing armed patrols and Coster said the shooting would not prompt him to revisit the issue.

It comes just a day after parliament voted to further tighten New Zealand's firearms laws in the wake of last year's Christchurch mosques massacre, when a lone gunman murdered 51 Muslim worshippers.


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