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Thursday, 31 January 2008

Shootout in Othello Drive

frightening shootout in Othello Drive on Tuesday night, which left two men hospitalised with gun shot injuries, has been confirmed as a gang-related dispute.
Counties Manukau Police say officers were alerted by nearby residents to a shooting at properties near the Dawson Rd intersection of the Otara street at 8pm.
Police say an unconfirmed number of persons arrived in vehicles and approached people at an Othello Dr house.
The two warring groups exchanged a number of firearm shots, where two men, one from each of the opposing gangs, sustained the gunshot injuries.
Yesterday, as both males were charged with offences and under police guard at Middlemore Hospital, where an armed officer patrolled on Tuesday night, properties numbered 11, 9 and 7 in Othello Dr were cordoned off, the immediate focus of investigators.
“It’s evident it is gang related,” said Superintendent Steve Shortland yesterday, the Counties Manukau District Commander.
However, while officer in charge of the Othello Dr case, detective inspector John Tims, says the targeted house was known to be a drug tinnie house with gang connections, police will not at this time publicly name the warring groups.
“Until we have reviewed all the evidence, we don’t want to prematurely name the rival parties,” says Mr Tims.
“What has happened is not a random incident targeting innocent members of the public.
“Forensically there a number of items to work through. We have recovered two firearms, one of which was discarded from a fleeing vehicle. In addition to the two vehicles, we are undertaking a forensic examination of the Othello Dr residence.”
Police say both fighting groups departed the residence before officers arrived on Tuesday night.
The injured men were dropped off at Middlemore Hospital from their respective associates vehicles, while being tracked by the police Eagle helicopter.
One male sustained a head wound. Yesterday evening, he was in a serious but stable condition. The other man has leg wounds and his condition is said to be fair.
Mr Tims says the hospitalised males are charged with being unlawfully in possession of a firearm. He says both are aged in their late 20s.
Police say they’re also heartened by the Otara and Manukau community spirit displayed since the incident.
“Our cordons kept a number of people from their homes for a few hours on what was a very warm night [Tuesday],” says Mr Tims.
“Residents were willing to assist and remained positive to each other and police. There was a strong sense of community.”
Yesterday saw the first deployment of the Counties Manukau Mobile Police Station, at Othello Dr. It’s staffed by a senior sergeant and 10 officers.
It’ll assist the investigating team with enquiries, but police are also encouraging the public to visit the new station. It’s designed to readily deploy to hot spots.

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