Man and son caught up in gang rivalry
A man had a sawn-off shotgun thrusted into his neck and was accused of being a Mongel Mob member as his son watched from the passenger seat.
This is the incident that Bay of Plenty Police are appealing for any information on and are turning to the public to help.
Whakatane Detective Sergeant Darren Thomas says police are investigating an incident in Whakatane on January 17 at about 8pm, in which a man and his son were threatened with a firearm.
“The man and his young child were driving along Lord Cobham Drive in Whakatāne when they were cut off by a silver car and forced to stop.
“Three men, wearing bandannas across their faces, got out of the silver car and approached the victims, who remained seated in their car.”
A fourth man remained in the silver car.
Darren says the offenders proceeded to accuse the victim of being a Mongrel Mob member and put a sawn-off shotgun to the side of his neck and cocked the trigger.
“At this stage the victim’s young child understandably became upset.
“He told the child to close his eyes as he thought he was going to be shot in the head and he didn’t want his child to see that.”
The offender with the shotgun then pulled the trigger, the gun went ‘click’ but did not fire.
The group then walked back to the silver car laughing and drove away.
This is was an incredibly distressing event for the victims and Police are determined to find the men responsible and hold them accountable, says Darren.
“We are working closely with the two victims and providing them with the support they need.
“Police believe the man was mistakenly identified as a gang member and for that reason are concerned that the offenders involved in this incident could have gone on to stop other vehicles that night.
“If people have experienced something similar to the incident described above, potentially witnessed such an event or have other information which may help our investigation, we ask that they contact us.
“This incident occurred on the same day that police were responding to tensions between rival gangs during a funeral procession through the wider Whakatane area,” says Darren. Read more here.
“We want to reassure members of the public that we have arrested and charged more than 20 people in relation to the events that day, and are focused on trying to ensure people in the Whakatane community are safe, and feel safe.”
People with information in relation to this event can ring Whakatane Police on 07 308 5255 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
“We encourage anyone who observes any incident which puts people at risk to ring 111 immediately,” says Darren.