Community meeting to address Tauranga crime
Western Bay of Plenty mayors and police will be holding a public meeting to address gang violence issues in the area.
The meeting will be held at Baycourt this Thursday, Feburary 20 at 7pm.
Tauranga mayor Tenby Powell wants to hold the meeting to assure the public they are safe and provide information about the how the criminal landscape has changed.
Police commander inspector Clifford Paxton will provide an update on the current situation and outline the issues which are contributing to the current spate of gang violence.
Tenby says there would be opportunities for people attending to ask questions, or put forward suggestions.
"I’m very aware that there is a significant level of concern at the way the confrontations between gangs have developed in the western Bay and the level of violence that has occurred.
"This meeting will update the community on what’s behind the current situation and what we can do to help," he says.
This meeting follows a fatal shooting last night after in relation to a double homicide on Ormsby Lane in Omanawa.
At around 7.40pm, several patrols spotted a vehicle wanted in connection to a double homicide earlier this week go through the intersection of Otumoetai and Bellevue roads.
They followed the vehicle onto Millers Road, then put on their siren and lights in an attempt to pull the driver over.
The driver kept driving onto Carmichael Road, where he leaned out the window and fired a volley of shots at police.
The pursuit lasted for six to seven minutes and ended when the offender again, leaned out the window and fired a volley of shots.
At this stage, the police returned fire, during the exchange the offender was wounded and the car slowly came to a stop.
In the past three weeks there have a number of incidents involving firearms and suspicious fires.
The incidents began on January 25, with the smashing of windows at Greerton business Bladed N Faded barber and tattoo studio, the same business has been gutted by a suspicious fire on January 27.
A stabbing occurred on January 26 where two men are alleged to have stabbed a man on The Strand.
During one of the defendants’ first court appearance Judge Michael Crosbie said he had been told by police the pair are allegedly prospecting for the Mongol gang.
On January 28 shots were fired in Hairini, police responded to a firearms incident just after midnight.
Later that day Police attended an incident on No.2 Road Te Puke where shots were reportedly fired and roads were cordoned off.
Western Bay of Plenty Police continue to investigate a series of recent incidents involving damage to properties and shots being fired, says Western Bay of Plenty area commander inspector Clifford Paxton.
“We are investigating each of these incidents separately, as well as any possible links between them, and any potential gang involvement.
District Commander Superintendent Andy McGregor says the homicide investigation into the Omanawa killings is separate to the incidents that occurred in Te Puke.
“All we know at this stage is that the vehicle was wanted in relation to the homicide inquiry. This homicide inquiry is completely different from the shooting we had in Te Puke. They are not related. They are completely different situations.”
Both Tenby and Garry commend the police for their efforts in “trying and challenging circumstances.”
“I want to commend the police for the outstanding job that they're doing.
“I've been trying to give a level of assurance, as the police have, that this is very well contained.
“There were shots fired in public and it was contained very quickly. That's key message here is that community safety is paramount.
“There is absolutely nothing more important than community safety and the police are doing a sterling job and ensuring that, that is managed.”
Garry says he will support police in whatever role they ask local government to fill.
“It’s of concern that our community has that sort of element in it. But having said that, I have real confidence in the police, that they have it under control. They are doing their best.”
“It’s not a local government issue, it’s a police issue.
“I have been meeting with the mayor of Tauranga City and the senior police hierarchy just to make sure that whatever they want from local government – we are there to give it to them.
“They have got it under control.”