November 30, 2023

Man in custody after surrendering to police in Stratford

Watch: State Highway 3 has been closed since Monday night.

A man who barricaded himself inside a property in the Taranaki town of Stratford after allegedly firing shots at police overnight has surrendered.

Central District Commander Superintendent Scott Fraser said the man emerged from the home on Achilles St at 2:40pm on Tuesday and was taken into custody.

Earlier, locals reported loud bangs akin to gunshots as armed police officers worked to arrest the man.

“The armed offenders squad and police negotiation team are working at a property where a man has entered the address and is refusing to engage with staff,” police said. “The man had been involved in a fleeing driver incident overnight.

“Shots were fired at police during the incident.”

Ambulances responded as a “precautionary measure”, Hato Hone St John said.

Officers were speaking with residents of neighbouring properties “to ensure their ongoing safety”.

“This was a lengthy and demanding incident, and our staff worked quickly this morning to contain and manage the situation, while minimising any risk to the public,” Supt Fraser said.

“I am proud of the way our staff have worked professionally to manage this incident, containing and apprehending a dangerous offender and minimising risk to others in the area.”

Charges are yet to be determined.

The manager of Stratford’s Amity Court told AM three people were evacuated from their homes to her motel during the stand-off.

Lisa Hill, the principal of Stratford’s Avon School, said it asked families not to bring children to school after they were advised by police to go into lockdown at about 8:45am.

A staff member from Stratford Primary School said it was planning to stay open on Tuesday, given the campus is on the other side of town from the police operation. 

The school will follow instructions from the police and the Ministry of Education, the staff member told AM.

State Highway 3, the main road through Stratford, closed between Pembroke and Monmouth Rds.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency said the road had been closed since 11pm on Monday.

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