A manhunt is continuing across Auckland after a police
officer was shot at at point-blank range during a routine
stop in the central city early today.
Police have vowed to keep searching until they find Murray
Toleafoa, a 30-year-old Samoan man with gang connections who
is suspected of carrying out the shooting just before 1am on
They are also hunting Nadia Ball, believed to have been
driving the car whose passenger fired at the police officer.
More than 20 police officers, as well as the armed offenders
squad and the Specialist Search Group are looking for
Toleafoa and Ball and three properties around Auckland were
The 40-year-old constable who made the stop this morning had
been interviewed and said he recalled at least one shot being
He suffered a burn to his forearm after a bullet passed close
to him and was "lucky to be alive'', Detective Inspector
Scott Beard said.
Witnesses described the firearm used as looking similar to a
The officer pulled over the car after noticing "suspicious
activity'' and was taking the car keys off the driver when
the passenger fired at him from close range, police said.
The car drove off at high speed and was recovered an hour
later in nearby Mt Eden.
Mr Beard said police had searched the vehicle and found a
pistol holster in it, although no weapon had been located.
"We do not want this search to end tragically for anyone. The
best thing Mr Toleafoa can do is give himself up to police.
If any of his associates knows where he is, they should call
police,'' Mr Beard said.
Police warned against approaching Toleafoa, who they said
could be armed and dangerous.
"Police officers carry out vehicle stops every day, 24/7.
Last night's patrol could have ended in tragedy and it's not
acceptable that people are driving around armed and, even
worse, prepared to shoot at officers,'' Mr Beard said.
"Murray Toleafoa is affiliated to the Tribesmen outlaw
motorcycle gang and I urge any member of the gang to contact
Auckland police spokeswoman Noreen Hegarty said the shocked
police officer was being supported by his colleagues and
would receive counselling.
Several of his colleagues had been "very close by'' at the
time he was fired at, she said.
Police Commissioner Peter Marshall condemned the incident.
"While the vast majority of our roadside interactions with
individuals take place peacefully and without violence there
continues to be a minor element within society who resort to
"Having been out on the streets recently with the frontline,
they have my utmost admiration for the way they go about
The incident showed police officers have to be constantly
alert for signs of irrational behaviour, he said.
"On the other hand good conversational communication is a
police officer's best skill. Maintaining the balance is the
art of policing and I take my hat off to my staff's
- By Brendan Manning of APNZ