Firearms incident in Ohakune
"Firearms incident in Ohakune"
Statement to be attributed to Whanganui Area Commander, Inspector Nigel Allan
Whanganui-Ruapehu Police are investigating an incident in Ohakune last night where an offender presented a firearm at two police officers and stole a patrol car.
Ohakune Police officers stopped a vehicle in Wye Street, Ohakune, to carry out a breath screening test at about 10.20pm.
As Police were talking to the driver of the vehicle, a male passenger, who had been partially concealed on the rear seat got out of the vehicle and pointed a firearm at the officers.
While holding the officers’ at gunpoint, the offender, along with another female passenger, got into the patrol car and drove away.
A short time later the offender crashed the patrol car into a gatepost and both occupants fled on foot.
The officers decided to use the vehicle they had initially stopped the offender in and were able to locate and recover the patrol car.
Nothing was taken from the patrol car while in the possession of the offender.
It sustained minor damage.
Neither the offender nor the passenger were located at the time.
Police believe the offender is Tama Michael Rawhiti, a 33-year-old male from Marton.
Rawhiti is currently the subject of a parole recall warrant and is aware Police are actively seeking him. He has recent links to Marton, Whanganui and Hawera and is believed to be travelling extensively across the North Island.
Rawhiti is believed to be in possession of at least one firearm and should not be approached.
“Our staff acted with considerable courage in a very challenging situation.
"The offender’s behaviour last night indicates he poses a significant risk and we are working hard to locate him and bring him safely into custody.
"We want to hear from anyone who may have information as to his whereabouts or any other information that may assist us in achieving his safe arrest.”
Police have worked through the night in Ohakune attempting to locate Rawhiti but as yet have not been successful. Police will continue enquiries throughout the day and the public will notice an increased Police presence in the area over the coming hours as the search continues.
“The public can be assured that Police are doing all they can to locate Rawhiti and to ensure safety in our community.”
If you see Rawhiti do not approach him and call 111 immediately.
Anyone with information that may assist in locating Rawhiti should contact Police via 105 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.