A woman whose car was taken in an alleged carjacking by an armed offender is still shaken after the ordeal.
The Foxton woman had just pulled out of her driveway and was barely moving when another vehicle suddenly swerved in front of her on Monday afternoon.
A relative of the woman told the Herald the man allegedly leapt out of his vehicle armed with a gun and told the woman that he needed to borrow hers to get to Feilding.
The woman’s tale – told to the Herald by her cousin – is just one of many facets of an incident which police allege would eventually result in the alleged offender firing two shots at police – one just seconds before the vehicle crashed into a patrol car on Kimbolton Rd, Feilding – about 50km away.
She is now being consoled by whānau and trying to deal with the traumatic incident, as the alleged gunman recovers from serious injuries after the crash.
Police have already confirmed that they were first alerted to the incident after reports of a vehicle being driven erratically in Foxton.
He allegedly failed to stop and police didn’t initiate a pursuit, but made inquiries about the vehicle.
He ended up driving back past police and allegedly firing a shot at an officer, who was uninjured.
It was shortly afterwards when the Foxton woman began leaving her home and was approached.
The woman’s cousin said she was leaving her property on Avenue Rd, “when this car swerved in front of her and a man jumped out with a gun . . . and asked her to get out, that he needed to borrow a car to get to Feilding”.
“He said ‘sorry I just need a car’,” the relative claimed.
“He jumped in, passed her handbag and phone and left. That’s all that was said between the two of them.”
He would go on to lead police on a “wild goose chase” – according to another resident – before eventually crashing.
The woman’s cousin said the man never pointed the gun directly at her.
She was only travelling about 10km/h when he appeared out of nowhere.
“He just wanted a car. We know he [messed] up with what went on after he got the car.”
The accused abandoned the car he was driving in the middle of Avenue Rd.
She said her cousin, aged in her 40s, was shaken by what happened and wasn’t herself.
“She is still shaken up and it will take time.
“We’re only happy he never hurt her. In saying that, it will take time for her to be her happy self again. “
The cousin said the man wasn’t aggressive and didn’t believe he would harmed her cousin with the gun.
“We believe he loves kids. I’m sorry I’m not justifying what he done was wrong but I believe he wouldn’t have harmed anyone.”
The woman added that Foxton was a small town, “and we are all whānau”.
“Especially ours. We love and care for ours.”
The man is now in hospital.
Police confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that a 30-year-old has been charged with use of a firearm against a law enforcement officer, unlawfully carrying a firearm and aggravated robbery. The man has been remanded in in custody until 28 January 2021.
The officers involved were off duty on Tuesday and police welfare services have been engaged to support them.
Earlier, police said on Monday that they deployed a number of units to the wider Feilding area, locating the vehicle on Kimbolton Rd.
Police were able to successfully deploy spikes to apprehend the male.
Just after passing over the spikes, police allege the man in the car fired at police before the car he was driving crashed into the patrol car.
No police officers were injured in the incident, and the offender was taken into custody by attending staff without the need to use firearms against him.
The alleged offender had to be extracted from the crashed vehicle by Fire and Emergency NZ staff, and was transported to Palmerston North Hospital in a serious condition where he is currently receiving treatment.
A firearm was recovered.
“This was an extraordinarily difficult and dangerous situation for our staff who were faced with a highly mobile offender whom it is alleged twice discharged a firearm at police and used that firearm in the commission of a robbery,” Inspector Nigel Allan said.
“The fact that police were able to successfully apprehend this person without injury to the public or police staff is an absolute credit to the courage and professionalism of the staff involved.”
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