Woman stable after Te Aroha shooting

A 19-year-old woman remains in a stable condition in Waikato Hospital's high dependency unit after being shot on Saturday.

She was hit in the chest and legs by a single shot from a gun shortly before 1pm on Saturday in Te Aroha.

Two men were due to face firearms charges today in relation to the incident.

Police said the victim underwent surgery in Waikato Hospital overnight on Saturday, and was now described as being in a stable condition.

She was initially described as being in a critical condition, however that was downgraded to 'stable' following surgery, a spokeswoman from the Waikato District Health Board confirmed.

Detective Senior Sergeant Graham Pitkethley said a 16-year-old man and a 21-year-old man had been arrested and would be appearing in court today in relation to the shooting.

"The 16-year-old youth faces wounding with reckless disregard and unlawful possession of ammunition charges in the Hamilton Youth Court, and the 21-year-old a charge of unlawful possession of pistol in the Hamilton District Court.

"Early indications are that the shooting may have been accidental."

A scene examination of the property on Russell Ave was being carried out by police and ESR forensic staff, Mr Pitkethley said.

The incident highlighted the risks associated with not only the lawful use but also the unlawful use of guns, he said.

"The only way to prevent tragedies such as this from occurring is by ensuring firearms are only used by firearms licence holders or under their direct supervision, and always treat them as loaded. When not in use, firearms should be secured away and stored separately from ammunition."

After the incident, a neighbour who asked not to be named, said he heard a loud bang, and then saw a male run through his property.

"He [then] disappeared, and about 15 minutes later the cops turned up with firearms," the neighbour said.


Further information on gun safety is available from any local police firearms office or the NZ Mountain Safety Council on http://www.mountainsafety.org.nz/Safety-Tips/Firearms-Safety.asp


- By APNZ and Herald on Sunday

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