Gunman found dead as siege ends

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A three-day stand-off between an armed military reservist and dozens of police in New Zealand ended today when the gunman was found dead.

It was not immediately clear how Jan Molenaar died.



He was accused of opening fire on a group of police who went to his house in Napier city on Thursday to look for suspected drugs. One officer was killed and three other people badly wounded.



Police had said they were willing to wait for Molenaar to surrender rather than raid the house. Hundreds of people from surrounding homes, schools and businesses were evacuated as a precaution.



But as the siege entered its third day today, Superintendent Sam Hoyle said officers used explosives to blow a hole in the house's ground floor to see inside and to destroy any booby traps.



Police still had no view of the master bedroom where Molenaar had barricaded himself, he said. When they finally entered the house, he was dead, Mr Hoyle said.



Police had earlier called in friends of Molenaar, 51, to help them negotiate an end to the stand-off but without success. Gunfire erupted periodically from the house, apparently directed at the police outside.



There was no indication that Molenaar made any demands and he reportedly told friends at one point that he would rather die than be sent to prison.



Mr Hoyle said he was not able to comment on how or when the gunman died, although police said earlier that they did not shoot at him.



Mr Hoyle told reporters that officers had located explosives in the house and would maintain extensive cordons for some time.



"Explosives experts are assisting us to make sure the house is safe," he said, adding that residents would continue to be kept away from the area.



Molenaar became angry on Thursday when he arrived home to find officers in his house conducting a drug raid. According to police, he fired a fusillade of shots from an automatic rifle, killing one officer and seriously wounding two others. A bystander who tried to wrestle the gun away from Molenaar was also shot.



It was unclear why the bystander was at the property or whether the attack happened inside or outside the house.



One police officer died beside his car outside the property, but volleys of gunshots from the house blocked police attempts to retrieve his body until last night.



Mr Hoyle said only two shots were fired by police during the siege, and all other gunfire had come from Molenaar, who allegedly fired on officers "dozens of times".



One of two wounded police officers and the civilian remained in critical condition, while the second wounded officer was stable, Napier Hospital said.



Late last night, police also rescued "very much alive" a police dog, named Fi, which had been trapped inside a police van since the shooting began, police said in a statement.



Intermittent negotiations with Molenaar had been tense and difficult, a spokesman said.



New Zealand is among few countries in the world where police routinely do not carry guns. The officer shot dead was the 29th killed on duty in New Zealand since 1890.



Comments